Advertisement

Evaluating Social Comparison Targets

  • Mark D. Alicke
Part of the The Springer Series in Social Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)

Abstract

Social comparison is the process by which people establish, maintain, refine, or embellish their self-concepts. The early history of social comparison research emphasized the comparisons people select to evaluate their abilities and opinions (Latane, 1966). In particular, this research assessed whether people preferred to elucidate their performance outcomes by comparing with superior or inferior others. The emphasis on comparison selections as opposed to comparison outcomes derived from Festinger’s (1954) conjecture that people evaluate their abilities by comparing with targets who are similar to themselves.

Keywords

Social Comparison Comparison Dimension Experimental Social Psychology Social Psychology Bulletin Comparison Target 
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. Alicke, M. D. (1985). Global self-evaluation as determined by the desirability and controllability of trait adjectives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1621–1630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alicke, M. D., Klotz, M. L., Breitenbecher, D. L., Yurak, T. J., & Vredenburg, D. S. (1995). Personal contact, individuation, and the better-than-average effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 804–825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alicke, M. D., LoSchiavo, F. M., Zerbst, J. I., & Zhang, S. (1997). The person who outperforms me is a genius: Esteem maintenance in upward social comparison. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 781–789.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alicke, M. D., & Vredenburg, D. S. (1999). The better than myself effect. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  5. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berglas, S., & Jones, E. E. (1978). Drug choice as a self-handicapping strategy in response to non-contingent success. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 405–417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernstein, M., & Crosby, F. (1980). An empirical examination of relative deprivation theory. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 16, 442–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brewer, M. B., & Weber, J. G. (1994). Self-evaluation effects of interpersonal versus intergroup social comparisons Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 268–2PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brickman, P., & Bulman, R. J. (1977). Pleasure and pain in social comparison. In J. M. Suls & R. L. Miller (Eds.), Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives (pp. 149–186). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  10. Codol, J. P. (1975). On the so-called “superior conformity of the self” behavior: Twenty experimental investigation. European Journal of Social Psychology, 5, 457–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collins, R. L. (1996). For better or worse: The impact of upward social comparison on self-evaluations. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 51–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crosby, F. (1976). A model of egoistic relative deprivation. Psychological Review, 83, 85–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunning, D., Meyerowitz, J. A., & Holzberg, A. D. (1989). Ambiguity and self-evaluation: The role of idiosyncratic trait definitions in self-serving assessments of ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1082–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ehrlich, H. J. (1973). The social psychology of prejudice. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Feather, N. T. (1994). Attitudes toward high achievers and reactions to their fall: Theory and research concerning tall poppies. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 26, pp. 1–73). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  16. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gastorf, J. W., Suls, J., & Sanders, G. S. (1980). Type A coronary-prone behavior pattern and social facilitation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 773–780.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gibbons, F. X., Persson, B., & Gerrard, M. (1994). From top dog to bottom half: Social comparison strategies in response to poor performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 638–652.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gilbert, D. T., Giesler, B. R., & Morris, K. A. (1995). When comparisons arise. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 227–236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goethals, G. R. (1986). Fabricating and ignoring social reality: Self-serving estimates of consensus. In J. M. Olson, C. P. Herman, & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Relative deprivation and social comparison: The Ontario Symposium (Vol. 4, pp. 135–158). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Goethals, G. R., & Darley, J. M. (1977). Social comparison theory: An attributional approach. In J. M. Suls & R. L. Miller (Eds.), Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives (pp. 259–278). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Gould, R., Braunstein, P. J., & Sigall, H. (1977). Attributing ability to an opponent: Public aggrandizement and private denigration. Sociometry, 40, 254–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Higgins, R., Snyder, C. R., & Berglas, S. (1990). Self-handicapping: The paradox that isn’t. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  24. Jones, E. E., & Davis, K. E. (1965). From acts to dispositions: The attribution process in person perception. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 219–262). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kelley, H. H. (1972). Causal schemata and the attribution process. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior (pp. 151–174). Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kulik, J. A., & Gump, B. B. (1997). Affective reactions to social comparison: The effects of reactive performance and related attributes information about another person. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 452–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Latane, B. (1966). Studies in social comparison—Introduction and overview. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2(Suppl. 1), 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lockwood, P., & Kunda, Z. (1997). Superstars and me: Predicting the impact of role models on the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Major, B., Sciacchitano, A., & Crocker, J. (1993). In-group versus out-group comparisons and self-esteem. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 711–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mettee, D. R., & Smith, G. (1977). Social comparison and interpersonal attraction: The case for dissimilarity. In J. M. Suls & R. L. Miller (Eds.), Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives (pp. 69–101). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Publishing.Google Scholar
  32. Miller, C. T. (1984). Self-schemas, gender, and social comparison: A clarification of the related attributes hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 1222–1228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morse, S., & Gergen, K. J. (1970). Social comparison, self-consistency, and the concept of self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16, 148–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Murray, S. L. (2000). The quest for conviction? Motivated cognition in romantic relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 110, 502–510.Google Scholar
  35. Murray, S. L., & Hohnes, J. G. (1997). A leap of faith? Positive illusions in romantic relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 586–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Perloff, L. S. & Fetzer, B. K. (1986). Self-other judgments and perceived vulnerability to victimization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 502–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Raven, J. C. (1965). Advanced progressive matrices, sets I and II. London: Lewis.Google Scholar
  38. Reeder, G. D., & Brewer, M. B. (1979). A schematic model of dispositional attribution in interpersonal perception. Psychological Review, 86, 61–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Seta, J. (1982). The impact of comparison processes on coactors’ task performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 281–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith, R. H., Parrott, W. G., Ozer, D., & Moniz, A. (1994). Subjective injustice and inferiority as predictors of hostile and depressive feelings in envy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 705–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Smith, R. H., Turner, T. J., Garonzik, R., Leach, C. W., Druskat, & Weston, C. M. (1996). Envy and schadenfreude. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 158–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Suls, J. M. (1977). Social comparison theory and research: An overview from 1954. In J. M. Suls & R. L. Miller (Eds.), Social comparison processes: Theoretical and empirical perspectives (pp. 1–19). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Publishing.Google Scholar
  43. Suls, J. M. (1986). Notes on the occasion of social comparison theory’s thirtieth birthday. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 12, 289–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Suls, J. M., Gastorf, J., & Lawhon, J. (1978). Social comparison choices for evaluating a sex-and age-related ability. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 102–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Suls, J. M., & Wan, C. K. (1987). In search of the false-uniqueness phenomenon: Fear and estimates of social consensus. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 211–217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tesser, A. (1988). Toward a self-evaluation maintenance model of social behavior. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 21, pp. 181–227). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  47. Tesser, A. (1991). Emotion in social comparison and reflection processes. In J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.). Social comparison: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 115–145). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  48. Weinstein, N. D. (1980). Unrealistic optimism about future life events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 8–6-820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Weinstein, N. D. (1983). Reducing unrealistic optimism about illness susceptibility. Health Psychology, 2, 11–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weinstein, N. D., & Lachendro, E. (1982). Egocentrism as a source of unrealistic optimism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wheeler, L. (1966). Motivation as a determinant of upward comparison. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Suppl. 1, 27–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wheeler, L., & Miyake, K. (1992). Social comparison in everyday life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 760–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wills, T. A. (1981). Downward comparision principles in social psychology. Psychological Bulletin, 90, 245–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wood, J. V. (1989). Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 231–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wood, J. V., & Taylor, K. L. (1991). Serving self-relevant goals through social comparison. In J. Suls & T. A. Wills (Eds.), Social comparison: Contemporary theory and research (pp. 23–49). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  56. Wood, J. V., Taylor, S. E., & Lichtman, R. R. (1985). Social comparison in adjustment to breast cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 1169–1183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ybema, J. F., & Buunk, B. P. (1993). Aiming at the top: Upward social comparison of abilities after failure. European Journal of Social Psychology, 23, 627–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ybema, J. F., & Buunk, B. P. (1995). Affective responses to social comparison of abilities after failure. British Journal of Social Psychology, 20, 277–288.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Alicke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations