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False Uniqueness Bias

Definition

False uniqueness bias refers to the tendency for people to underestimate the proportion of peers who share their desirable attributes and behaviors and to overestimate the proportion who share their undesirable attributes. Typically, this bias has been assessed by collecting estimates that people make about the proportion of peers who have positive or negative traits/behaviors with the actual proportions who report these traits and behaviors. False distinctiveness is indexed by comparing the percentage of peers whom participants estimate act the same as they do with the actual sample statistic. Several studies have shown that people underestimate the proportion who also behave in a socially desirable way—an indication of false uniqueness. For example, persons who regularly engage in physical activity tend to underestimate the actual proportion ...

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