Counterfactual thinking following negative outcomes: evidence for group and self-protective biases
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2007
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 37, Issue 6, pages 1256–1271, November/December 2007
How to Cite
McCrea, S. M. (2007), Counterfactual thinking following negative outcomes: evidence for group and self-protective biases. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 37: 1256–1271. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.462
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 JUN 2007
- Manuscript Received: 17 JUL 2006
- University of Konstanz. Grant Number: AFF 13/05
Despite the robustness of self-serving and group-serving biases in attribution, there has been only limited evidence for these effects in counterfactual thinking. The present studies demonstrate that, following a negative outcome, individuals counterfactualize external factors relatively more than internal factors when they are identified with the target (i.e. ingroup members or the self) than when they are not. However, these effects are found only for external factors that are in some way disadvantageous to the target and could have led to the negative outcome. Implications of these findings for understanding the relationship between counterfactual thinking and judgments of causality, blame and affect are discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.