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Universal biases in self-perception: Better and more human than average


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Steve Loughnan, School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, England, CT2 7NZ (e-mail:


There is a well-established tendency for people to see themselves as better than average (self-enhancement), although the universality of this phenomenon is contested. Much less well-known is the tendency for people to see themselves as more human than average (self-humanizing). We examined these biases in six diverse nations: Australia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and the USA. Both biases were found in all nations. The self-humanizing effect was obtained independent of self-enhancement, and was stronger than self-enhancement in two nations (Germany and Japan). Self-humanizing was not specific to Western or English-speaking cultures and its magnitude was less cross-culturally variable than self-enhancement. Implications of these findings for research on the self and its biases are discussed.