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Downward comparison theory; Multiple Discrepancies Theory (MDT); Social comparison; Upward comparison


Social comparison theory (SCT) is a theory that explains the reasons, as well as the processes, behind the idea that people evaluate their own opinions, values, achievements, and abilities by comparison respectively with the opinions, values, achievements, and abilities of others.


Social comparison theory was first popularized by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 (Festinger 1954). SCT proposes that there is a primitive drive within individuals to compare themselves with others in order to evaluate their own opinions and abilities. It was originally thought that individuals do this partly in order to limit hostility and deprecation of others, given that the act of comparing oneself with others is one of the ways to strengthen bonds and ensure uniformity within a social group. Festinger also hypothesized that the tendency to compare oneself with others...

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Correspondence to Nattavudh Powdthavee .

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Powdthavee, N. (2014). Social Comparison Theory. In: Michalos, A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht.

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