Naive cynicism is a cognitive bias that occurs when people expect more egocentric bias in others than actually is the case. The term was proposed by Justin Kruger and Thomas Gilovich.
In one series of experiments, groups including married couples, video game players, darts players and debaters were asked how often they were responsible for good or bad events relative to a partner. Participants evenly apportioned themselves for both good and bad events, but expected their partner to claim more responsibility for good events than bad events (egocentric bias) than they actually did.
In addition to these contexts, naïve cynicism may play a major role in non-psychology related fields, such as governmental policy. It is hypothesized that such cynicism fosters a distrust of other political parties and entities. For example, naïve cynicism is thought to be a contributing factor to the existence of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, and other detention centers. Additionally, naïve cynicism may have been a contributing factor to the American rejection of Russian disarmament during the Cold War.
Naïve cynicism may also be closely related to the fundamental attribution error, the tendency to overestimate the effect of disposition or personality and underestimate the effect of the situation in explaining social behavior.