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PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 2 Self and Self-Control

Self and Self Control

Case Study

Mark and Joe are planning a social event for their friends and family. Mark has found an affordable venue with a safety capacity limit of 50 people. However, Mark has discovered that the more people they invite, the bigger the discount they will receive on the rental price. Joe must know the safety and financial details and is eager to throw a big party. Mark and Joe discuss how many people they should invite, with Mark being concerned about the safety limit and Joe wanting to ask as many people as possible to make the party more fun.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 2 Self and Self-Control

The selected case study focuses on self and self-control because it highlights Mark and Joe’s priorities and motivations. Mark is concerned about the safety of their guests and wants to limit the number of attendees to comply with the venue’s safety capacity limit. In contrast, Joe is focused on his reputation as “Mr. Party” and wants to invite as many people as possible to make the party fun. This reflects their different values and priorities, and it raises questions about their ability to exercise self-control in making decisions that prioritize the safety of their guests over their desire to have a giant party.

The social psychology concept that will be applied to this case study is self-serving bias, which is the tendency for individuals to attribute their successes to their abilities or efforts while attributing their failures to external factors beyond their control. In this case, Mark is looking for a more significant discount on the venue by inviting more people to the party than the safety limit allows. Mark is taking all the credit for arranging the party and getting a discounted price for the venue. He is willing to risk the safety of the attendees to get a more significant discount while not considering the possible consequences of exceeding the safety limit of the venue. This behavior shows how Mark is attempting to make his efforts successful and take credit for the party while ignoring the potential risks involved.

According to Kogan et al. (2021), self-serving bias is an individual’s tendency to protect their self-esteem and self-image by emphasizing their positive qualities and accomplishments while ignoring their negative attributes and failures. Self-serving bias is a cognitive bias that involves taking personal credit for successes while blaming adverse outcomes on external factors (Cherry, 2019). It is a way of protecting and boosting one’s self-esteem. 

A study in 2011 found that undergraduates who performed well on an online test attributed their success to their ability, while those who performed poorly attributed their failure to the difficulty of the test. This paper is titled “Emotion and the Self-Serving Bias” by Liu and Wang and was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology in 2011. The research method was an online experiment with 240 undergraduate students from a university in China. The students completed a 20-item multiple-choice test on general knowledge, received either positive or negative feedback, and underwent an emotional induction procedure that manipulated their mood. The students then rated the extent to which they attributed their test performance to four factors: ability, effort, task difficulty, and luck (Coleman, 2011). The relevant findings were that:

Students who received positive feedback and experienced happiness or anger made more internal attributions (ability and effort) than those who experienced sadness or fear.

Students who received negative feedback and experienced sadness or fear made more external attributions (task difficulty and luck) than those who experienced happiness or anger.

The self-serving bias was more substantial for students who received positive feedback and experienced happiness or anger than those who received negative feedback and experienced sadness or fear. These findings suggest that emotions play a significant role in how students explain their academic outcomes and that the self-serving bias is not a stable personality trait but a dynamic phenomenon influenced by situational factors (Coleman, 2011).

Mark’s behavior shows a classic example of self-serving bias, as he is willing to take credit for the party’s success by inviting more people and getting a more significant discount while ignoring the potential risks involved in exceeding the safety limit of the venue.

Research Support

Research Summary 

The self-serving bias is a social psychological theory that describes the tendency of individuals to attribute positive events to their abilities or efforts, while adverse events are attributed to external factors. In 2014, Sanjuan and Magallanes researched how self-serving attributional bias and coping strategies were related to subjective well-being. The study used a sample of 237 undergraduate students and measured their self-serving bias, coping strategies, and emotional well-being.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 2 Self and Self-Control

The study’s findings showed that self-serving attributional bias was positively related to using adaptive coping strategies, which in turn was positively associated with subjective well-being. However, maladaptive coping strategies were negatively related to emotional well-being. The study provides empirical evidence of the role of the self-serving bias in influencing coping strategies and ultimately impacting subjective well-being. For example, individuals who attribute success to their abilities may be more likely to use adaptive coping systems, enhancing their well-being. Conversely, individuals who blame external factors for their failures may be more likely to use maladaptive coping strategies, leading to decreased well-being.

Research Interpretation 

According to Sanjuan and Magallares’ (2014) research interpretation, coping strategies mediated the relationship between self-serving bias and subjective well-being, with the former having a negative association with the latter. In other words, individuals who engaged in self-serving attributional bias were less happy, but this relationship was weaker for those who employed effective coping strategies. This study highlights the negative consequences of self-serving bias and the importance of effective coping strategies in mitigating those consequences.

Similarly, Chen et al. (2023) found that participants who exhibited a self-serving bias were more likely to engage in unethical behavior in a bargaining game. This study supports the concept of self-serving bias as a recognized social psychology concept by demonstrating its link to unethical behavior.

These studies prove the self-serving bias as a recognized social psychology concept by demonstrating its negative consequences for subjective well-being and its link to unethical behavior.

Application of Self-Serving Bias to the Case Study

The chosen case study about Mark and Joe’s party planning demonstrates the concept of self-serving bias. Self-serving bias is the tendency to attribute positive outcomes to internal factors (such as one’s abilities) and adverse effects to external factors (such as other people’s actions) (Sanjuán & Magallares, 2014). In this case study, Mark is exhibiting self-serving bias by prioritizing his financial gain over the safety of the party attendees. He has found an affordable venue with a capacity limit of 50 people and is aware of the potential danger of overcrowding. Despite having the information, he has not revealed it to Joe. He is directing his attention towards inviting more people to avail of a more significant discount on the rental cost. Mark’s behavior demonstrates self-serving bias, prioritizing his financial gain over the well-being and safety of the party attendees.

Additionally, Joe is exhibiting self-serving bias by prioritizing his desire to throw a big party and maintain his reputation as “Mr. Party” over the safety and well-being of the party attendees. He is not concerned about the potential danger of overcrowding and instead wants to invite as many people as possible to make the party more exciting. Joe’s behavior also demonstrates self-serving bias, prioritizing his desire for a fun and exciting party over the safety and well-being of the attendees.

Overall, the case study of Mark and Joe’s party planning highlights the concept of self-serving bias, as both Mark and Joe prioritize their desires and personal gain over the safety and well-being of the party attendees.

Ethical Reasoning Application

Loss aversion is a psychological tendency observed in individuals whereby they experience a greater degree of negative emotions associated with losses than positive emotions associated with equivalent gains (Koan et al., 2021). The concept of loss aversion can be applied to the Mark and Joe case study. Loss aversion is when individuals emphasize avoiding losses more than achieving gains. Mark and Joe are motivated by the fear of losing something in the case study. Mark is afraid of losing money, so he is willing to compromise on the safety and well-being of party attendees to save costs. On the other hand, Joe is afraid of losing his reputation as “Mr. Party,” so he is willing to compromise on the safety of the party attendees to maintain his image.

Mark and Joe’s behavior in the case study can be attributed to their fear of losing something. Mark is trying to save money on the rental cost of the venue, and in doing so, he is willing to risk the safety of the party attendees by inviting more people than the venue can accommodate. Similarly, Joe is afraid of losing his reputation as the life of the party. In doing so, he is willing to compromise on the safety of the attendees by allowing more people to attend the party than the venue can handle.

The concept of loss aversion is relevant in the case study as it explains the motivation behind Mark and Joe’s behavior. Their fear of losing something is causing them to act unethically and put the safety and well-being of others at risk. By understanding the concept of loss aversion, we can identify the potential for unethical behavior and take steps to prevent it before it occurs. In this case, Mark and Joe could have considered the potential losses if an accident were to occur due to overcrowding and prioritize the safety of the party attendees over their fears of loss.

Critical Thinking Application

Egocentric thinking refers to the tendency to see and interpret events from one’s perspective without considering the views of others (Abreu Pederzini, 2019). In the case study, both Mark and Joe demonstrate egocentric thinking.

Mark’s decision to prioritize financial gain over the safety of party attendees suggests the presence of egocentric thinking. He found a venue that offered a discount for 50 or more people, and instead of informing Joe about the capacity limit, he encouraged him to invite more people to avail of the discount. Mark’s decision shows that he is solely focused on the potential monetary gain for himself and is not considering the safety risks for the party attendees.

Joe’s egocentric thinking is evident in his desire to throw a big party and maintain his reputation as “Mr. Party” without considering the safety and well-being of the attendees. He is more concerned with the number of people attending the party and the excitement it will generate than the safety risks of the attendees. Joe is so focused on his desire for a big party that he will ignore any potential risks associated with overcrowding.

Overall, the egocentric thinking demonstrated by Mark and Joe in the case study highlights the importance of critical thinking in decision-making. Suppose they had considered the viewpoints of others and evaluated the possible advantages and disadvantages of their choices. They could have reached a more ethical and accountable resolution concerning the party’s planning.

PSYC FPX 3520 Assessment 2 Self and Self-Control

Conclusion

The concept of self-serving bias is evident from the chosen case study. This is shown in Mark’s desire to invite more people to the party to increase the rental discount, despite the safety limitations of the venue and Joe’s willingness to prioritize his desire for a fun party over potential safety concerns. The ethical concept of loss aversion is also applicable, as the focus on the rental discount and party fun may cause Mark and Joe to rationalize their potentially harmful actions. Finally, the critical thinking issue of egocentrism is present. Mark and Joe may only seek information supporting their desired outcome of a larger party while ignoring or downplaying potential negative consequences.

References

Abreu Pederzini, G. D. (2019). Realistic egocentrism: Caring leadership through an evolutionary lens. Culture and Organization, 5(2), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/14759551.2019.1637875 

Cherry, K. (2019). Why We Take Credit for Success and Blame Others for Failure. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-self-serving-bias-2795032 

Chen, Y., Pan, Y., Cui, H., & Yang, X. (2023). The contagion of unethical behavior and social learning: An experimental study. Behavioral Sciences, 13(2), 172. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13020172 

Coleman, M. D. (2011). Emotion and the self-serving bias. Current Psychology, 30(4), 345–354. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-011-9121-2 

Koan, I., Nakagawa, T., Chen, C., Matsubara, T., Lei, H., Hagiwara, K., Hirotsu, M., Yamagata, H., & Nakagawa, S. (2021). The negative association between positive psychological wellbeing and loss aversion. Frontiers in Psychology, 12(5). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.641340 

Kogan, S., Schneider, F. H., & Weber, R. A. (2021). Self-serving biases in beliefs about collective outcomes. Working Paper Series / Department of Economics, 3(379). https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-201445 

Sanjuán, P., & Magallares, A. (2014). Coping strategies as mediating variables between self-serving attributional bias and subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(2), 443–453. https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/jhappi/v15y2014i2p443-453.html 

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