The self-serving bias refers to the tendency to take credit for successful outcomes in life, but to blame the situation or other people for failing outcomes. For example, when an individual gets a promotion at work, he or she will explain this by citing an internal cause, such as his or her ability or diligence. In contrast, when the same individual is fired from a job, he or she will explain this by pointing to an external cause, such as an unfair boss or bad luck. In general, the self-serving bias allows individuals to feel positively about themselves and to protect themselves from the negative psychological consequences of failure.

Background and History

The self-serving bias is part of a larger area in social psychology known as ...

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