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13:32 Feb 1, 2009
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Psychology
English term or phrase: sentence comprehension
Dear all

can you please help me understand the sentence below?

"Essentially, the self-serving bias means that in difficult or important negotiations, we tend to think that both the objectively “fair” outcome and the most likely outcome **is** the one that is skewed in our own favor. (After Brazil and Italy play in the World Cup, ask citizens of both nations in which direction the referees were biased.)"

I would have thought you would use ARE instead of IS in the sentence above, but maybe I am just mistaken. More generally, I simply don't understand this definition...

Any help? Thank you in advance.
Adele Oliveri
Italy
Local time: 07:48
English translation:explanation
Explanation:
It means that we tend to see things from our point of view, to interpret results in the most favourable way to our own purposes or wishes.
Regarding the is/are question, I think the sentence would be clearer expressed as follows:
we tend to think that both outcomes: the objectively “fair” outcome and the most likely outcome, are skewed in our own favor.
It is talking about outcomes, two of them, therefore "are", but the original sentence is not very well constructed


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Note added at 56 mins (2009-02-01 14:28:47 GMT)
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Hi Adele, Your comment was spot on "Whether their team wins or loses, Italian football fans will always tell you that referees were biased against them..." That's the point: If they win, it was a fair outcome because they are the better team; if they loose, the referee was against them... and the Brasilians were thinking exactly the same! For that matter all football supporters think the same about their own team
Hope that helps ;-)

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Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-01 14:34:59 GMT)
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Just to expand mu note to Ta^a:
One objective, two outcomes
One of the outcomes is fair, the other is most likely. It could happen that the fair outcome is also the most likely, but not necessarily.
Eg. It is fair that I win the lottery because I have been buying tickets for many years, but it is very unlikely ... sadly
Selected response from:

Arcoiris
Local time: 06:48
Grading comment
Thank you all for your great help!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +4explanationArcoiris
5 +1is
Laurie Price
4grammatically incorrect butKen Cox
4both outcomes ARE one outcome
Claire Chapman


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
is


Explanation:
Because the bias is self serving they're talking about the same thing -- the same ONE thing -- in other words, yes, the referees were quite biased!

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Note added at 6 mins (2009-02-01 13:38:31 GMT)
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does this help you to understand it? I hope so. They're talking about a predetermined outcome, basically --

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Note added at 15 mins (2009-02-01 13:47:56 GMT)
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Adele -- It "doesn't" make much sense because it is so skewed -- the answer came before the question, essentially. It's completely biased. A self-serving bias is the same thing as having already decided upon the answer. Is this any clearer?

Laurie Price
Mexico
Native speaker of: English
Notes to answerer
Asker: I am sorry, Laurie, I'm afraid it doesn't help much :-( I still don't understand what they are trying to say... are they saying that we think that the outcome most favourable to us is both the most "fair" and the most likely? It still doesn't make much sense...


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Taña Dalglish: Absolutely (in other words: "fair” and the most "likely" outcome is ...). Saludos Laurie.
6 mins
  -> thanks Taña y saludos a ti*
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
explanation


Explanation:
It means that we tend to see things from our point of view, to interpret results in the most favourable way to our own purposes or wishes.
Regarding the is/are question, I think the sentence would be clearer expressed as follows:
we tend to think that both outcomes: the objectively “fair” outcome and the most likely outcome, are skewed in our own favor.
It is talking about outcomes, two of them, therefore "are", but the original sentence is not very well constructed


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 56 mins (2009-02-01 14:28:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Hi Adele, Your comment was spot on "Whether their team wins or loses, Italian football fans will always tell you that referees were biased against them..." That's the point: If they win, it was a fair outcome because they are the better team; if they loose, the referee was against them... and the Brasilians were thinking exactly the same! For that matter all football supporters think the same about their own team
Hope that helps ;-)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2009-02-01 14:34:59 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Just to expand mu note to Ta^a:
One objective, two outcomes
One of the outcomes is fair, the other is most likely. It could happen that the fair outcome is also the most likely, but not necessarily.
Eg. It is fair that I win the lottery because I have been buying tickets for many years, but it is very unlikely ... sadly

Arcoiris
Local time: 06:48
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you all for your great help!
Notes to answerer
Asker: thank you Iris, that makes more sense. Still, I am befuddled by the example of the football match. Whether their team wins or loses, Italian football fans will always tell you that referees were biased against them... :-)

Asker: sorry, I should have written Arcoiris :-S


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Enza Longo: good explanation ... and I agree that it should be 'are'
2 mins
  -> Thank you Enza

neutral  Taña Dalglish: Still no. The objective is one. Not 2 outcomes. You can have 1 fair AND most likely outcome (it is one & the same - the end result! and we should not change the source to suit our ends). I strongly feel it is "IS". Saludos.
13 mins
  -> Thank you Ta^a. True, the objective is on, but the text mentions "both" outcomes. Grammatically the agreement should be with both = are

agree  Tina Vonhof: X and Y are one and the same AND skewed in our favour. Leave out "the one" and ignore the World Cup example, it's confusing and it's not the point of the sentence.
1 hr
  -> Thank you Tina

agree  Gary D: Explains it the best
6 hrs

agree  Phong Le
14 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
both outcomes ARE one outcome


Explanation:
The word one can serve as a pronoun, as well as a noun or an adjective. In the case of your sentence, it is a pronoun for outcome. Substituting outcome for one in the sentence gives you:

...we tend to think that both the objectively “fair” outcome and the most likely outcome ARE the [one] outcome that is skewed in our own favor.

or

Outcome A and outcome B are the outcome C.

Alternate example:
On the other hand the events A and B are not mutually exclusive--they have the outcome (1,6) in common...
http://74.6.239.67/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p="is the one outco...

See the following sites for information on self serving bias:
Self serving bias
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-serving_bias

A self-serving bias occurs when people are more likely to claim responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests. Dale Miller and Michael Ross first suggested this attributional bias. Self-serving bias also results in a statistical bias resulting from people thinking that they perform better than average in areas important to their self esteem. For example a majority of drivers think they drive better than the average.

For instance, a student who gets a good grade on an exam might say, "I got an A!" while a student who does poorly on an exam might say, "The teacher gave me an F!" When someone seeks out external causes for their poor performance, it may be labeled self-handicapping. Self-serving bias may simply be a form of wishful thinking.
http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Self-serving_bias

What is a self serving bias?
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-self-serving-bias.htm

Claire Chapman
Local time: 01:48
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
grammatically incorrect but


Explanation:
This is an example of relatively common usage that is grammmatically incorrect (IMO) or at least questionable (to avoid my personal bias). The objectively 'fair' outcome and the most likely outcome are two different things, so the subject of the phrase is plural and the verb should be plural. I don't think that putting 'both' in front of a plural subject transforms it into a singular subject.

The difficulty here arises from the fact that the true subject of the phrase is 'the outcome skewed in their favour', so the difficulty could be avoided by rewording as:

Most people regard the outcome skewed in their favour as the the objectively fair outcome and the likely outcome.

If the two types of outcome have been mentioned previously and you want to maintain coninuity, you could say:

Most people think that the objectively 'fair' outcome and the likely outcome are the same as the one skewed in their favour.

or

Most people think that both outcomes -- the objectively fair outcome and the likely outcome -- are the same as the one skewed in their favour



Ken Cox
Local time: 07:48
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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