Unicitatea personală – către o perspectivă sociologică Personal Uniqueness – towards a Sociological View Section Studies


Sergiu Bălțătescu


In this paper we review the biases associated with the sense of personal uniqueness: better-than-average effect, illusory superiority, person-positivity bias, leniency error, sense of relative superiority, third-person effect, unrealistic optimism, illusion of control, and Lake Wobegon effect. These biases are encountered in many domains of life such as health behaviours, driving, academic life, media use, personal relationships and happiness. Explanations offered until now are either motivational (the need to increase and maintain self-esteem) or non-motivational (such as informational differences, focalism, naive realism or egocentrism). However the sociological explanations cannot be ignored, parts of these effects being discussed in known theories in the field such as spiral-of-silence (Noelle-Neumann), organic solidarity (Durkheim), social distance (Bogardus) and social systems (Parsons). Likewise, the positive effects of personal uniqueness (self-enhancement, happiness in relationships, and recovery after traumatic events) are socially constructed and the line between functional and dysfunctional is rather thin. The negative effects exist at individual level (lack of strong health prevention measures, permeability to the damaging media messages, and consumerist attitudes). At societal level, the dangers are rather neglected but may be even more serious: exacerbated personal uniqueness may conduce to an erosion of solidarity, of interpersonal and political trust, of individuality and of tolerance. Remedies are in most cases hard to find and implement, giving the complex nature of these biases, the resistance that individuals and organizations oppose to the debiasing strategies.


Author Biography

Sergiu Bălțătescu, University of Oradea

Address: 1 Universității Street, 410087, Oradea, Bihor County, Romania.

E-mail: bsergiu2@gmail.com

How to Cite
Bălțătescu, S. (2014). Unicitatea personală – către o perspectivă sociologică: Personal Uniqueness – towards a Sociological View. Sociologie Românească, 12(4), 75-87. Retrieved from http://revistasociologieromaneasca.ro/sr/article/view/2014_4_baltatescu

Most read articles by the same author(s)