Who helps more? How self-other discrepancies influence decisions in helping situations

Tehila Kogut, Ruth Beyth-Marom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Research has shown that people perceive themselves as less biased than others, and as better than average in many favorable characteristics. We suggest that these types of biased perceptions regarding intentions and behavior of others may directly affect people's decisions. In the current research we focus on possible influences in the context of helping behavior. In four experiments we found that, people believe that others, compared to themselves, are less inclined to help and cooperate, are less aware of the number of bystanders and more influenced by the "proportion dominance" bias and by the "identifiable victim effect." We demonstrate that these perceptions are naïve and unrealistic by showing that decisions from both self and others' perspectives are equally biased. Finally, we show how the perspective from which a decision is made (self vs. others) may affect private as well as public decisions in ways that might not be in the best interest of the decision maker and the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-606
Number of pages12
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008


  • Better than average
  • Bystander effect
  • Helping behavior
  • Identifiable victim
  • Proportion dominance
  • Self-other discrepancies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


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