Affect the behavior of others the rest of the world

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affect the behavior of others . The rest of the world may be able to get along just fine, on land and at sea, without US attempts to control it. Ego-Centric and Self- Serving Biases in Attribution It is natural for people, whether presidents or commoners, to misperceive the role they play in the thinking process of others . Jervis was the first to discuss this phenomenon, now known as the “ ego-centric bias ,” which has been put to the test many times since he wrote four decades ago. Building on what was known as “attribution theory,” Jervis observed that actors tend to overestimate their importance in the decisions of others . Rarely are our actions as consequential upon their behavior as we believe them to be .92 This is not merely ego gratification, though that plays a role; actors are simply more conscious of their own actions than the other factors central to the internal deliberations in other capitals. Because people are more likely to remember their contributions to an outcome, they naturally grant themselves more causal weight.93 Two further aspects of the ego-centric bias make US analysts even more susceptible to its effects. First, the bias is magnified when the behavior of others is desirable. People generally take credit for positive outcomes and deflect responsibility for negative ones . This “self-serving bias” is one of the best-established findings in modern psychology , supported by many hundreds of studies .94 Supporters of Ronald Reagan are happy to give him credit for ending the Cold War, for instance, even though evidence that the United States had much influence on Premier Gorbachev’s decision making is scant at best.95 Today, since few outcomes are more desirable than global stability, it stands to reason that perceptions of the New Peace are prime candidates for distortion by ego-centric, self-serving biases . When war breaks out, it is not the fault of US leaders; when peace comes to a region, Washington is happy to take credit. There was for some time a debate among psychologists over just how universal self-serving biases were, or whether their effects varied across cultures. Extensive research has essentially settled the matter, to the extent that academic questions can ever be settled: a direct relationship appears to exist between cultural individualism and susceptibility to the bias, perhaps because of the value individualistic societies place on self-enhancement (as opposed to self-effacement).96 Actors from more collectivist societies tend to have their egos rewarded in different ways, such as through contributions to the community and connections to others. People from Western countries are far more likely to take credit for positive outcomes than those from Eastern, in other words, and subjects in the United States tower over the rest of the West.

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