Self-Serving Bias
                                             The Power of Positive Thinking

Note: These questions are part of a larger data base of questions on modules 4 & 5. The 
questions are selected to represent the type of question you should expect on unit exam one. You 
can, in fact, expect to see many of these very same questions on that exam. Exam questions, however, 
may deal with topics not covered in the self tests or in lectures but are discussed in your textbook. You 
are responsible for the content of your text book plus the content of lectures, interactive activities, 
& material on the web site.

---- Use these sample questions to test yourself & to practice for the test. ----

1. The sense that one is competent to do something constitutes one’s

   independent self.
    learned helpfulness.

1b.  Which of the following strategies is a defense against unrealistic optimism?

•  strategic optimism. 
 •  defensive pessimism.  
  •  advanced education. 
   •  self-protective bias. 

2. The tendency to perceive oneself favorably is 

  self-serving bias. 
   locus of control. 
    the self-reference effect. 

3. For qualities that are both subjective & socially desirable, most people 
consider themselves to be 

 about average. 
  better than average. 
   worse than average. 
    too unique for comparison. 

4. Self-serving bias is strongest for qualities that are 


5. People would be least likely to rate themselves as better than average in 

 being ethical. 
  being punctual. 
   being disciplined. 
    being high in interpersonal relationship skills. 

6. The tendency to overestimate the commonality of one’s opinions & undesirable 
behaviors is known as the 

 self-reference effect. 
  false consensus effect. 
   false uniqueness effect. 
    self-handicapping syndrome. 

7. The tendency to underestimate the commonality of one’s abilities & desirable 
behaviors is known as 

 self-reference effect. 
  false consensus effect. 
   false uniqueness effect. 
   self-handicapping syndrome. 

8. In experiments, people whose self-esteem is temporarily bruised are more 
likely to 

 act altruistically. 
  disparage others. 
   retreat into social isolation. 
    seek to develop an interdependent self. 

9. Which of the following is true of self-serving bias? 

 It can protect people from depression. 
  It can lead to more accurate self-appraisals. 
   It can make people more vulnerable to depression. 
    It is necessary for long term mental health. 

10. Which theory argues that positive self-esteem may be adaptive because it buffers 
us from anxiety related to our own mortality? 

 mortality salience theory. 
  self-serving bias theory. 
   terror management theory. 
     self-esteem maintenance theory. 

11. True humility is more like _____ than false modesty. 


12. When groups are comparable, most people consider their own group to be 

 below average. 
  about average. 
   above average. 

13. A person’s overall sense of self-worth constitutes his or her 

   possible self. 

14. People with strong feelings of self-efficacy are likely to be more 

   socially sensitive. 
    prone to stress. 

15. The extent to which people perceive their lives as internally controllable by their 
own efforts & actions or as externally controlled by chance or outside forces 
constitutes their 

 locus of control. 
  controllability quotient. 
   intrinsic-extrinsic motivation. 
    interdependent-independent self. 

16. The experience of repeated uncontrollable bad events contributes to 

  learned helplessness. 
   an interdependent self. 
    an internal locus of control. 

17. Individualistic cultures marked by __________ tend to cause decreased life satisfaction 
& increased clinical depression. 

 high self-efficacy 
  “an excess of freedom” 
   low learned helplessness 
    primarily external locus of control 

18. Bandura emphasizes that self-efficacy improves as a result of 

   the experience of success. 
    the compliments of others. 
     the power of positive thinking. 

19. People express greater satisfaction with their decisions when their choices are ________. 


20. A classic study found that people living in trailers in Alabama were more likely to die from tornadoes 
than people living in trailers in far more tornado-prone areas. Researchers found that the difference 
between that group of Alabamans and their counterparts in other states was that people in the tornado-prone 
states actively prepared for the likelihood of tornadoes (e.g., they purchased weather radios). The passivity 
of the Alabamans in this study represents an 

 Internal locus of control. 
  external locus of control. 
   ambiguous locus of control. 
    interdependent locus of control. 

21. Because she gets poor grades no matter how hard she studies, Rose has decided not to study at all. 
This behavior most clearly demonstrates 
  learned helplessness. 
   an interdependent self. 
    an internal locus of control. 
22.  Bandura believes that self-efficacy develops primarily through 

•  self-persuasion. 
 •  experiencing success. 
  •  being exposed to self-efficacious models. 
   •  the process of escape and avoidance conditioning.
                             Social Psychology
                               Robert C. Gates