Self-enhancement - Constraints - Social Context and Relationships

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.

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