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Upward social comparison- compare to someone who is better than you. Downward social comparison- compare to someone who is worse than you. Social Comparison Direction. Contrast.

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Presentation Transcript
social comparison direction
Upward social comparison- compare to someone who is better than you.

Downward social comparison- compare to someone who is worse than you.

Social Comparison Direction
contrast
Contrast
  • Contrast effect – self is contrasted to the target of comparison and thus self-evaluations move away from the target.
contrast effect results
Upward social comparison- compare to someone who is better than you.

Downward social comparison- compare to someone who is worse than you.

Contrast Effect Results

Feel worse

Feel better

assimilation effects
Assimilation effects
  • Assimilation effect- Self-evaluations move towards the target of comparison.
assimilation effect results
Upward social comparison- compare to someone who is better than you.

Downward social comparison- compare to someone who is worse than you.

Assimilation Effect Results

Feel better

Feel worse

predicting contrast vs assimilation
Predicting Contrast vs. Assimilation

Tesser’s Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model

Results depend on:

  • Psychological closeness
  • Relevance of the dimension
self evaluation maintenance
Self-Evaluation Maintenance

Ratings of Positivity in Perception

predicting assimilation vs contrast
Predicting Assimilation vs. Contrast

Lockwood & Kunda (1997)

Results depend on:

  • Relevance
  • Attainability
automaticity
Automaticity

Automatic processes are well learned and require little or no conscious attention.

Is social comparison an automatic process?

If so, people should be able to compare even under cognitive load.

gilbert et al 1995
Gilbert et al. (1995)
  • Schizophrenia detection task
  • First watched confederate perform well (16/18) or poorly (4/18)
  • But confederate was deliberately trained or misinformed, so the comparison is non-diagnostic.
  • Half of the participants are under cognitive load.
  • All participants took test and got 10/18
gilbert s theory
Gilbert’s theory

No Cognitive load:

Correction:

Comparison is

non-diagnostic

Compare to

confederate

No effect

On self-evaluation

Cognitive load:

Unable to

correct

Effect on

Self-evaluation

Compare to

confederate

gilbert et al 199513
Gilbert et al. (1995)

Results (self-evaluations of performance)

Not busy: No significant effect of comparison direction.

Busy: Significant contrast effect.

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