This proposal focuses on how people's beliefs and concerns about their own self-concepts influence their evaluations of other people. In particular, the research in the proposal assesses whether people tailor their judgments of others in order to bolster or maintain their impressions, usually positive ones, of themselves. The research will examine three separate issues. First, it will explore conditions that may limit or prevent the usual and ubiquitous tendency to provide egocentric, self-serving judgments of others. In particular, it will examine whether individuals with low self-esteem manage their judgments of others in the same way that high self-esteem individuals do. Second, the research will assess whether the tendency to make self-serving social judgments Can be """"""""debiased,"""""""" or rather reduced or eliminated, by situational Circumstances. Third, the research will examine whether self-serving judgments actually influence mood and feelings of self- worth. The research is aimed at contributing to an understanding of social judgment and self-esteem processes. Self-esteem has been implicated in a wide range of health and coping phenomena. As such, understanding how people bolster, enhance, or undermine their self- esteem through social judgment will increase understanding of these health consequences. Because the psychological processes to be examined have also been linked to biases in self and social judgment, the research will also contribute to an understanding of how people's views of themselves can sometimes become biased and unrealistic. The research will also enhance understanding of disagreement and conflict in social judgment. Decades of research has shown that people often disagree over their judgments of others, with those disagreements linked to how individuals judge themselves. At its essence, the research in the proposal will examine those disagreements, to see how views about the self influence views about other people.
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