Searching for the limits and explanations of the non-selective superiority bias

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Three experiments were conducted to test the robustness and explanations of the Nonselective Superiority Bias (NSSB), whereby any randomly selected item from a positive category is rated more favorably when compared with a cohesive group of other exemplars from the same category. Having participants rank order all exemplars prior to making a direct comparative rating did not reduce the NSSB (Experiment 1). Whether participants considered similarities or differences between the randomly selected target and the other individual exemplars, the target was rated more positively than the rest (Experiment 2). Finally, even comparing a randomly selected exemplar with exemplars from different categories (apples vs. oranges), the NSSB was still obtained (Exp. 3). The generalizability of the bias and the implications of the current results for the focalism, unique attributes, and LOGE explanations of the NSSB are discussed.