The present research investigated accessibility effects on comparative self-positivity in the environmental domain. In a pretest we established comparative self-positivity and a focus effect for environmental awareness. In the main study we aimed at shifting these effects by manipulating the accessibility of harmful behaviours of either the self or the typical student before obtaining comparative judgements. Specifically, we used two types of accessibility manipulations: anchoring and ease of retrieval. We predicted that judgements would be affected by content in the anchoring paradigm but by subjective ease in the ease of retrieval paradigm. We found the predicted pattern of effects, but it was strongest when participants focused on the typical student. The findings contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying comparative biases and may have applied implications. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.