Social Context and Relationships
The presence of the motive to self-enhance is dependant on many social situations, and the relationships shared with the people in them. Many different materialisations of self-enhancement can occur depending on such social contexts:
- The self-enhancement motive is weaker during interactions with close and significant others.
- When friends (or previous strangers whose intimacy levels have been enhanced) cooperate on a task, they do not exhibit a self-serving attribution bias.
- Casual acquaintances and true strangers however do exhibit a self-serving attribution bias.
- Where no self-serving bias is exhibited in a relationship, a betrayal of trust in the relationship will reinstate the self-serving bias. This corresponds to findings that relationship satisfaction is inversely correlated with the betrayal of trust.
- Both mutual liking and expectation of reciprocity appear to mediate graciousness in the presence of others.
- Whilst people have a tendency to self-present boastfully in front of strangers, this inclination disappears in the presence of friends.
- Others close to the self are generally more highly evaluated than more distant others.
Famous quotes containing the words social and/or context:
“Can you conceive what it is to native-born American women citizens, accustomed to the advantages of our schools, our churches and the mingling of our social life, to ask over and over again for so simple a thing as that we, the people, should mean women as well as men; that our Constitution should mean exactly what it says?”
—Mary F. Eastman, U.S. suffragist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4 ch. 5, by Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (1902)
“Among the most valuable but least appreciated experiences parenthood can provide are the opportunities it offers for exploring, reliving, and resolving ones own childhood problems in the context of ones relation to ones child.”
—Bruno Bettelheim (20th century)