Attributions for nonverbal expressions of liking and disliking: The extended self-serving bias

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13 Scopus citations


Although the desire to be liked and appreciated is among the most fundamental in the human experience (Maslow, 1970; Rotter, Chance, & Phares, 1972), the expression of liking has the potential to generate negative as well as positive outcomes, which may in part be a function of what attributions are made for such expressions. The present experiment extends a common principle of attribution-making, the self-serving bias, to predict and explain participants’ and nonparticipant observers’ attributions for a confederate's nonverbal expressions of liking or disliking. Results indicated that (1) for participants but not for observers, expressions of disliking were more likely to elicit attributions than were expressions of liking; (2) participants were more likely to make attributions than were observers; (3) participants made more external, uncontrollable attributions for expressions of disliking than did observers; and, (4) participants made more internal, controllable attributions for expressions of liking than for expressions of disliking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-404
Number of pages20
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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