Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Replicable: People regard themselves as better than the average, thinking of themselves as better described by positive character traits than the others

Alicke (1985): Pre-registered replication and extension. Pui Yan Mok, Gilad Feldman. Preprint, June 2019. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30198.04164

Abstract: People seem to regard themselves as better than the average other. To revisit this phenomenon, we conducted a pre-registered replication and extension of Alicke's (1985) study on the effect of trait dimensions for self versus average other judgments, collecting data from American Amazon Mechanical Turk workers in two waves (N = 670; N = 903). For more effective analyses, we switched to a correlational design after pre-testing the data. We successfully replicated the effect of trait desirability for the self-ratings in relation to average other ratings, such that participants rated more desirable traits as more descriptive of themselves than of the average American (original: ηp2 = .78, 95% CI [.73, .81]; replication: sr2 = .54, 95% CI [.43, .65]). In line with the original findings, we found that the effect was stronger for traits of higher controllability (original: ηp2 = .21, 95% CI [.12, .28]; replication: sr2 = .07, 95% CI [.02, .12]). As an extension, we measured commonness, the degree to which a trait is frequently displayed among the average American. The extension revealed that more desirable traits were rated as more common (sr2 = .04, 95% CI [-.01, .09]) and this held for the average American (sr2 = .41, 95% CI [.31, .52]) but not the self (sr2 = .00, 95% CI [-.01, .01]). Three decades after the original study, the better-than-average effect appears to remain robust. We discuss implications for future research.

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