Age and the Better-Than-Average Effect
Article first published online: 17 MAY 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 5, pages 1175–1188, May 2011
How to Cite
ZELL, E. and ALICKE, M. D. (2011), Age and the Better-Than-Average Effect. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41: 1175–1188. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00752.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 17 MAY 2011
People generally evaluate their own attributes and abilities more favorably than those of an average peer. The current study explored whether age moderates this better-than-average effect. We asked young (n = 87), middle-aged (n = 75), and older adults (n = 77) to evaluate themselves and an average peer on a variety of trait and ability dimensions. On most dimensions, a better-than-average effect was observed for young, middle-aged, and older adults. However, on dimensions for which older individuals have clear deficiencies (i.e., athleticism, physical attractiveness), a better-than-average effect was observed for young and middle-aged adults, while a worse-than-average effect was observed for older adults. We argue that egocentrism accounts for these age differences in comparative self-evaluations.