It's a psychological term for describing a process of inferring the cause of events or behavior without being aware of the underlying processes and biases that lead to those inferences.
What is Self-Serveing Bias?
Its cognitive bias that tends to enhance the ego and self confidence of an individual, through a variety of processes. . Being aware of the processes behind it can help a person to evaluate his or her performance and progress more critically, and it will allow the person to use things like failures as learning experiences. For example if a person passes her driving test on the first try, she might say that this was due to the fact that she studied hard and is a good driver. If she fails the test, however, she might blame the examiner, the car, or the weather, rather than admitting that she did not demonstrate safe and effective driving skills.
Study based on evidence of the Self-serveing Bias - Elizabeth Posey and Randolph A.Smith
Aim: To investigate self-serving bias in children
Participants: Twenty male and 16 female second graders
Procedure: Children were paired with a partner of same gender and were asked to complete 3 minutes math worksheet as a group. But, one half of the participants was paired up with a friend while the other one was not. At the end all of them received feedback that indicated their success or failure.
Result: The people in non-friend groups were blaming the failure to their partners. When they were asked who did better job they tended to give a credit for themselves. On the contrary children who were paired up with a friend were less likely to blame others or external/situational factors for their failure.
Conclusion: Participants who were blaming others for the failure clearly demonstrated self-serving bias. By putting the blame on their partners children wanted to protect their ego or self-esteem.
Study based on evidence of cultural differences in relation to the Self-serveing Bias
Researches suggest there are cultural differences in the fundamental attribution error, people form individualistic cultures are more prone to the error while people from collectivism cultures commit less of it.
Study of Kashima and Triandis
Who conduced it? Kashima and Triandis in 1986.
Participants: 34 Japanese graduate students and 202 American undergraduate students
Procedure: Participants were shown and then asked to remember 15 slides pertaining to life in Israel, Greece and Iran. Then they were given 5-minute recognition test that was based on those slides. After the test the participants were shown 5 slides pertaining to life in India. Then they were given 3-minute test based on those 5 slides about India. Participants were randomly assigned to either success or failure group. People in the success group were told they scored 12/15 while the people in the failure group were told they scored only 5/15. Then all of the participants were given an attribution questionnaire.
Result: American students tended to attribute their success to their talent or abilities. Japanese students tended to attribute their failure to lack of their abilities. Both Americans and Japanese students responded similarly when they were given situational information