Egocentrism Versus Protocentrism: The Status of Self in Social Prediction

Rachel Karniol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this article, the author discusses the limitations of the egocentric view of self in which self serves as an automatic filter, inhibiting access to alternative representations of others' thoughts and feelings. The author then outlines a protocentric model, the self-as-distinct (SAD) model, in which generic representations of prototypic others serve as the default; representations of self, specific others, or categories encode only distinctiveness from generic knowledge about prototypic others. Thus, self-knowledge is distributed both in generic representations in which self and prototypic others are undifferentiated and in a self-representation that encodes distinctiveness. The self-representation does not serve to make predictions about others because it encodes how self differs from the generic representation of others. Predictions that are the same about self and others are protocentric, based on generic knowledge that serves as the default. The SAD model parsimoniously accounts for many inconsistent findings across various domains in social cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-580
Number of pages17
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2003


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