Collectives Closer to the Self Are Anticipated to Have a Brighter Future: Self-Enhancement in Collective Cognition

Dorthe Berntsen*, David C. Rubin

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstract

Collective future thinking is a budding research field concerned with the act of imagining possible events in the future of a collective—typically one’s nation. Prior research has shown that people imagine more positive than negative events in the personal future but more negative than positive events in the collective future. This interaction has been interpreted as a valence-based dissociation between collective and personal cognition. We examine if degrees of self-relatedness may account for these effects. In Study 1, participants (N = 299) imagined events in the future of their country and family, rated how central they viewed these collectives to their self and identity and rated the collectives’ futures for positive and negative valence. Positive and negative valence of the imagined collective futures was strongly associated with how central the collectives were viewed to the self. In Study 2, participants (N = 306) rated self-centrality, personal agency, and moral decline perceived for their country. All three measures explained independent variance in how positive the future was for their country. In Study 3, participants (N = 310) self-nominated collectives that they viewed as highly versus minimally central to their self and identity. The futures of highly central collectives were rated more positive than negative, whereas such positive bias was absent for the futures of minimally self-central collectives. Overall, the findings indicate that a continuum of different degrees of self-relatedness may explain the Valence × Domain interaction in previous work, and suggest a need to integrate research on collective future thinking with self-serving biases in social cognition.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Vol/bind153
Nummer5
Sider (fra-til)1226–1235
ISSN0096-3445
DOI
StatusUdgivet - maj 2024

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