On the substitutability of the third-person perception

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The prevailing explanation for the Third-Person Perception (TPP) argues that people perceive that others are more influenced by the mass media than themselves in order to maintain a positive self image. If the TPP is indeed a self-preserving bias, then according to psychological research, it should be substitutable with other self-preserving mechanisms. However, past attempts to reduce the TPP after affirming the self have by and large failed. The studies reported in this paper extend these past attempts in two important ways. First, unlike past research that focused on crossdomain substitutability, we test for the substitutability of the TPP within a specific self-domain. Second, unlike past research that manipulated state self-esteem and measured the impact on subsequent TPPs we also test for the opposite type of substitutability, namely for the impact of the TPP on subsequent self-maintenance mechanisms. Overall, the findings suggest that the TPP is partly substitutable with other self-preserving mechanisms, but this substitutability takes place only within a specific self-domain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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