Advertisement

Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 95–106 | Cite as

Not Very Smart, thus Moral: Dimensional Comparisons Between Academic Self-Concept and Honesty

  • Jens MöllerEmail author
  • Karel Savyon
Article

Abstract

Three studies explored the influence of self-evaluation in one domain (e.g., the academic domain) on self-evaluation in another domain (e.g., morality), assuming a process of intra-personal dimensional comparisons (i.e., comparisons between self-evaluations in two different domains). A pre-study with N = 143 university students replicated the ‘Muhammad Ali effect’, that is, the tendency to rate one's own honesty higher than one's own intelligence. As suggested in our assumptions regarding dimensional comparisons, Study 1 (N = 70) then showed that low self-concept students rated their honesty slightly more positive than high self-concept students. More important, in Study 2 (N = 64) participants who just experienced academic failure in an experimental task rated their honesty slightly more positive than students who experienced academic success. Therefore, it was demonstrated that academic outcome influenced self-concept in a non-academic domain. Results are discussed with regard to their implications for the extension of the I/E model.

Keywords

Social Psychology Social Context Education Research Experimental Task Academic Success 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ali, M. (1975). The greatest. My own story. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, S.T., Messick, D.M., & Goethals, G.R. (1989). On being better but not smarter than others: The Muhammad Ali effect. Social Cognition, 7, 275–296.Google Scholar
  3. Bong, M. (1998). Tests of the internal/external frames of reference model with subject-specific academic self-efficacy and frame-specific academic self-concepts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 102–110.Google Scholar
  4. Collins, R.L. (1996). For better or worse: The impact of upward social comparisons on self-evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 51–69.Google Scholar
  5. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140.Google Scholar
  6. Goethals, G.R. (1986). Social comparison theory: Psychology from the lost and found. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 12, 261–278.Google Scholar
  7. Guay, F., Bovin, M., & Hodges, E.V.E. (1999). Social comparison processes and academic achieve-ment: The Dependence of the development of self-evaluations on friends' performance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 564–568.Google Scholar
  8. Hau, K.T., Kong, C.K., & Marsh, H.W. (2000). Extension of the internal/external frame of reference model of self-concept formation: Importance of native and nonnative languages for Chinese students. Paper presented at the AERA Conference, April 2000, New Orleans.Google Scholar
  9. Holtgraves, T. & Dulin, J. (1994). The Muhammad Ali effect: Differences between African Americans and European Americans in their perceptions of a truthful bragger. Language and Communication, 14, 275–285.Google Scholar
  10. Jerusalem, M. (1984). Selbstbezogene Kognitionen in schulischen Bezugsgruppen [Self-evaluative cognitions in academic reference groups. A longitudinal study]. Berlin: Free University.Google Scholar
  11. Liebrand, W.B., Messick, D.M., & Wolters, F.J. (1986). Why we are fairer than others: A cross-cultural replication and extension. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 590–604.Google Scholar
  12. Marsh, H.W. (1986). Verbal and math self-concepts: An internal/external frame of reference model. American Educational Research Journal, 23, 129–149.Google Scholar
  13. Marsh, H.W. (1987). The big-fish-little-pond effect on academic self-concept. Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 280–295.Google Scholar
  14. Marsh, H.W. (1990). Influences of internal and external frames of reference on the formation of math and English self-concepts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 107–116.Google Scholar
  15. Marsh, H.W., Byrne, B.M., & Shavelson, R.J. (1988). A multifaceted academic self-concept: Its hier-archical structure and its relation to academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 366–380.Google Scholar
  16. Marsh, H.W. & Craven, R. (1997). Academic self-concept. Beyond the dustbowl. In G.D. Phye (Ed.), Handbook of classroom assessment. San Diego, CA: Academic Press; pp. 131–198.Google Scholar
  17. Marsh, H.W. & O'Neill, R. (1984). Self Description Questionnaire III (SDQ III): The construct validity of multidimensional self-concept ratings by late adolescents. Journal of Educational Measurement, 21, 153–174.Google Scholar
  18. Marsh, H.W. & Shavelson, R.J. (1985). Self-concept: Its multifaceted, hierarchical structure. Educational Psychologist, 20, 107–125.Google Scholar
  19. Marsh, H.W., Walker, R., & Debus, R. (1991). Subject-specific components of academic self-concept and self-efficacy. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 16, 331–345.Google Scholar
  20. Marsh, H.W. & Yeung, A.S. (1998). Longitudinal structural equation models of academic self-concept and achievement: Gender differences in the development of math and English constructs. American Educational Research Journal, 35, 705–738.Google Scholar
  21. Messick, D.M., Bloom, S., Boldizar, J.P., & Samuelson, C.D. (1985). Why we are fairer than others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 21, 480–500.Google Scholar
  22. Möller, J. & Köller, O. (2000). Spontaneous and reactive attributions according to academic achievement. Social Psychology of Education, 4, 67–86.Google Scholar
  23. Möller, J. & Köller, O. (2001a). Frame of reference effects following the announcement of exam results. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 277–287.Google Scholar
  24. Möller, J. & Köller, O. (2001b). Dimensional comparisons: An experimental approach to the internal/external frame of reference model. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 826–835.Google Scholar
  25. Reuman, D.A. (1989). How social comparison mediates the relation between ability grouping practices and students' achievement expectancies in mathematics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 178–189.Google Scholar
  26. Sedikides, C. & Strube, M.J. (1997). Self-evaluation: To thine own self to be good, to thine own self be sure, to thine own self be true, and to thine own self be better. In M.P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 29). New York: Academic Press; pp. 209–269.Google Scholar
  27. Shavelson, R.J., Hubner, J.J., & Stanton, G.C. (1976). Self-concept: Validation of construct interpretations. Review of Educational Research, 46, 407–444.Google Scholar
  28. Skaalvik, E.M. & Rankin, R.J. (1990). Math, verbal, and general academic self-concept: The in-ternal/ external frame of reference model and gender differences in self-concept structure. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 546–554.Google Scholar
  29. Skaalvik, E.M. & Rankin, R.J. (1992). Math and verbal achievement and self-concepts: Testing the internal/external frame of reference model. Journal of Early Adolescence, 12, 267–279.Google Scholar
  30. Skaalvik, E.M. & Rankin, R.J. (1995). A test of the internal/external frame of reference model at different levels of math and verbal self-perception. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 161–184.Google Scholar
  31. Suls, J.M. & Miller, R.L. (1977) (Eds.), Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  32. Tesser, A. (1988). Toward a self-evaluation maintenance model of social behavior. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 21). San Diego, CA: Academic Press; pp. 181–227.Google Scholar
  33. Van Lange, P.A.M. (1991). Being better but not smarter than others: The Muhammad Ali effect at work in interpersonal situations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 690–694.Google Scholar
  34. Van Lange, P.A.M. & Kuhlman, D.M. (1994). Social value orientations and impressions of other's honesty and intelligence: A test of the might versus morality effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 126–141.Google Scholar
  35. Van Lange, P.A.M. & Sedikides, C. (1998). Being more honest but not necessarily more intelligent than others: Generality and explanations for the Muhammad Ali effect. European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 675–680.Google Scholar
  36. Wills, T.A. (1981). Downward comparison principles in social psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 90, 245–271.Google Scholar
  37. Wood, J.V. (1989). Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 231–248.Google Scholar
  38. Wood, J.V., Taylor, K.L., & Lichtman, R.R. (1985). Social comparison in adjustment to breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1169–1183.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations