The present research explored the possibility that the false consensus and false uniqueness effects can occur simultaneously within a single context. Specifically, it was hypothesized that individuals would overestimate the number of others who would experience the same type of emotional reaction as they did and yet believe that their reactions would be stronger than those of others. Subjects were presented with two potentially aversive situations and asked (a) to choose the situation they would least prefer to be involved in, (b) to estimate the percentage of other students who would also avoid the situation, and (c) to predict their own and the average other person’s emotional reactions in that situation. Subjects overestimated the number of people who would avoid the same situation they would avoid and predicted their own emotional reactions to be stronger than those of others. Implications of the findings for coping and adjustment are discussed.
McFarland, C., & Miller, D. T. (1990). Judgments of self-other similarity: Just like other people, only more so. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 16(3), 475-484.