The Self-Serving Bias Essay Example



Do you often wonder why so many people tend to attribute positive events to their own character and attribute negative events to external factors? Most people can relate to this question because most of the  times we tend to credit ourselves when we did  great works or accomplished  certain goals in life. Most of the time we also  ignore the negatives  that are affecting our goals and this is when we attribute them with external factors. This is one of the common cognitive biases and It is called the “Self Serving Bias”. Self Serving bias is a cognitive bias that can be applied to the philosophical dual process model in both positive and negative ways. The Dual Process Model is consist of system 1 and system 2. In this Paper, I will explain self serving bias, how it can be applied to the dual process model and a personal experience I went through with my youtube channel. 

Self serving bias is a cognitive bias and it occurs as people tend to attribute positive events to their own character but attribute negative events to external factors. You are probably familiar with self serving bias even if you do not know it by name because it is a cognitive bias that people experience everyday. It is a habit of a person taking credit for the goods and blaming the outside factors for the bads. “In 1990, there was a lot of research aimed at discovering just how deluded people were when came to failure and success and the finding of these studies showed you tend to accept credit when you succeed, but blame bad lucks, unfair rules, difficult instructors, bad bosses, cheaters, and so on when you fail”(Mcraney 2011, p. 28). The self serving bias can be categorized as negative event and positive positive event based on the factors depending on our beliefs and attributions. For example: Positive event is when a student receives their essay back from the professor with a great A, and the student will attribute it to their own awesomeness. Negative event is when a student receives their paper back from their professor with a letter C or D, they will blame the professor for not explaining clearly. Self serving bias can also be applied to the philosophical dual process models, system 1 and system 2.

Self serving bias can be identified in the Philosophical dual process models system 1 and system 2. Both systems are widely used in every field of study. These Models engage in fast and slow thinking processes in different ways and oftentimes system two helps system 1 when system one is not able to process. This is the dual process model. The first one is the system one which is known as intuitive/automatic thinking. According to Kahneman, system 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control(2012). In this process the mind has its own ability to quickly observe, judge, or answer instantly without putting in the work. This can also mean jumping to conclusions. This system is an influential and a guidance to our day to day decisions. An example of system 1 is when I hear or see the word philosophy my mind quickly tells me that philosophy is hard or when I look at a math problem 1+1, I already know that the answer is going to be 1 because I already knew and learned about it. 

As mentioned, whenever system 1 runs into a problem or is not able to solve a problem, it calls upon the other system, the system 2. “System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations''(Kahneman 2012, p. 21). System 2 is different from system one as it works carefully and slowly. Unlike system 1 system 2 works physically and slow to concentrate. Sometimes called the lazy system. “the operation of system 2 is often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration”(Kahneman 2012, p.21). An example of system 2 is when I hear or see the word philosophy (system 1, thinks right away that it is hard) I do my research and register for a philosophy class to learn about it to see if it is a hard subject.Another example is, I look at a math problem 124+345 and grab a pencil and a piece of paper to write down the problem concentrate on finding the right answer. 

Clearly, with the self serving biased we can already see how the dual process model system 1 and system 2 can be applied to this cognitive bias. In self serving bias we can attribute the positive event based on our success as the system 1 and attribute the negative event to external factors as the system 2. An example of self serving bias as system 1 is the student with a passing score of A and taking all the credits. An example of  self serving bias as system 2 is the student getting a bad grade and blaming that the teacher did not explain and provide enough information on how to write a paper. In these examples, system one operates when the student gets excited for working so hard and system one operates when the student gets a bad grade and starts thinking about how and why he get that bad grade. Again the differnce between these two models are system 1 automatically claim the victory and system 2 think, concentrate, and work to find out about how to get the vicorty.

In life people often experienced self serving bias without knowing it. I personally believe that growing up I was and still have the mentality of a self seving bias person. I have seen and experienced it myself through many levels just like the student with the good and the bad grade but here is a personal self serving biased I have encountered recently. In July 2020 I started a youtube Channel of my personal stories that I believe that can educate and teach people some lesson. After a month I gained  300+ subscribers for constantly posting and making interesting videos. I told myself that I am very good at advertising my youtube channel and take all the credits . I was very surprised by the work that I have done and put in to gain those subscribers. After another month of not posting videos and not gaining a single subscriber I was so mad and blamed my frriends and family for not helping me and supporting my youtube channel. Here we can see that I was performing the self serving bias as I gave full credit to myself when my youtube was gaining success and blame the other people that my youtube channel is not growing anymmore because of their lack of support. We can also see how the dual process model affect me as I was too quick to credit myself and blamed my friends and family and the aftermath when I was thinking about how I gained my subscribers and why my channel stop growing. 

Self serving bias is one of the many cognitive biases that controls the abiltiy of our mind in both negative and positive ways through the dual process model system 1 and system 2 . It has the power to change the way we think based on the events and the factors. It gives us the ability of thinking slow and fast. Self serving bias can be very powerful and harmful but our mind has the ability to control the way we want our thoughts to process  internally and externally.