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Abstract

This study focuses on explanations for the perceived consensus of one's own social value orientation. The prediction of the triangle hypothesis that the consensus expectation of individualistic and competitive people is higher than that of cooperative people was partially supported. Only individualists expected their own orientation more frequently of other people. According to a causal attribution explanation, it was expected that subjects' causal attributions for their own orientation to internal and external causes influenced their consensus expectations. Only attributions to internal causes differed significantly between subjects with different orientations and corresponded with their consensus estimates. Individualism was attributed least internally, cooperation most internally, and competition in between. Additionally, direct support for the effect of internal attributions on consensus expectations was found. Compared with subjects who attributed their own orientation more internally, subjects who attributed it less internally were more likely to expect their own orientation among other people. According to a self-justification explanation, it was hypothesized that the consensus expectations of individualists and competitors would be higher when first their own social orientation was assessed and then the orientation they expected to predominate among others than in the reversed order. This hypothesis was not supported.