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:
“... spinsterhood [is considered to be] an abnormality of small proportions and small consequence, something like an extra finger or two on the body, presumably of temporary duration, and never of any social significance.”
—Mary Putnam Jacobi (18421906)
“Parents are led to believe that they must be consistent, that is, always respond to the same issue the same way. Consistency is good up to a point but your child also needs to understand context and subtlety . . . much of adult life is governed by context: what is appropriate in one setting is not appropriate in another; the way something is said may be more important than what is said. . . .”
—Stanley I. Greenspan (20th century)