These tendencies create a status structure, held in place by both higherand lower groups because it allows everyone to evaluate themselves withintheir own group. Social comparison theory was first proposed in 1954 by psychologist Leon Festinger and suggested that people have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others. For example, a music student might compare herself to the star student of the class. Findings Participants in the high-dissonance condition spread apart the alternatives significantly more than did the participants in the other two conditions. However, if the person, image or comparison group is too divergent from the evaluator, the tendency to narrow the range of comparability becomes stronger Festinger, 1954. When they are assimilative in nature, they can lead to the pleasing, beneficent emotions of admiration and inspiration. In an environment like this, it is easy to slip into comparing ourselves with others.
Tajfel, Henri, and John C. According to Festinger, people rely on these comparisons with other people to accurately assess their own skills, abilities, beliefs, and attitudes. For example, imagine that a high school student has just signed up for band class to learn how to play the clarinet. A theory of social comparison processes. Also, people are less attracted to situations where others are divergentfrom them compared to situations where others are more like them in opinionsand abilities. The answer, of course, is that he may not have gone wrong.
Results Participants in the 'severe embarrassment' condition gave the most positive rating. Instagram and college women's body image: investigating the roles of appearance-related comparisons and intrasexual competition. We will look at the main findings to have emerged from each area. Once you have a good understanding of what you are capable of, you might then begin comparing your performance to other people that you know. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 331-339. He also hypothesized that there is an upward drive towards achieving greater abilities, but that there are non-social restraints which make it nearly impossible to change them, and that this is largely absent in opinions Festinger, 1954. A male high school student would not compare his running time with that of an inexperienced, female middle school student.
The model proposes that if a person is successful or familiar to a similar task, then they would also be successful at a new task. Upward comparisons, when they produce contrastive effects can lead to the painful, often hostile emotions of envy, resentment, or shame. A recent Pew Research Center study found that nearly three-quarters of internet users engage with social networking sites like Facebook. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. In turn, this knowledge may enhance understanding of the choice among comparison others and allow an assessment of the extent to which choices vary with nonmotivational factors.
Do I weigh too much? Psychology and Marketing, 10, 513-530. This justifies the effort made. Thus, a freshman might look at the success of a senior as hopeful indication of what he or she might end up achieving; but an underachieving fellow senior might experience this comparison in a depressive, contrastive fashion. Forced compliance occurs when an individual performs an action that is inconsistent with his or her beliefs. But partly because of robust judgmental biases allowing individuals to construe themselves as better than they are, an upward comparison can actually boost self-evaluation. The type of comparison and the specific person or group chosen define whether an individual is likely to perceive himself or herself or the group as being unfairly treated. Hypotheses of the Social Comparison Theory Leon Festinger mentioned his hypotheses in his book entitled Social Comparison Processes that gives substantial exploration of his theory.
Implications for Group Formation and Societal Structures People tend to move into groups of similar opinions and abilities, and theymove out of groups that fail to satisfy their drive for self-evaluation. Tajfel, Henri, and John C. To explain the multifaceted role of social comparisons, this article first describes the theory and its elaborations and then shifts to a sampling of the extensive applications of that theory. When race day arrives, you might find yourself surrounded by people who are much more athletic than you and realize that your initial assessment of your abilities was overly optimistic. If you took the job you would miss your loved ones; if you turned the job down, you would pine for the beautiful streams, mountains, and valleys. Links from this theory to other theorie Cognitive Dissonance Theory External links Original Contributor s Jithesh A Please feel free to make modifications to this site. Finally, as much of the applied work suggests, additional studies may reveal the range of consequences of social comparisons for individuals, relationships, and groups.
Almost fifty years after its inception, its contribution to numerous substantive areas appears to be unrivaled Suls and Wills 1991. The theory of cognitive dissonance has been widely researched in a number of situations to develop the basic idea in more detail, and various factors that have been identified which may be important in attitude change. If she finds that her abilities do not measure up to her peer's talents, she might be driven to achieve more and improve her abilities. First, he stated that humans have a drive to evaluate themselves by examining their opinions and abilities in comparison to others. This prediction has been tested experimentally: In an intriguing experiment, Festinger and Carlsmith 1959 asked participants to perform a series of dull tasks such as turning pegs in a peg board for an hour. Why donât we use objective criteria? In effect, low-esteem individuals are seizing a safe form of self-enhancement. When a discrepancy exists with respect to opinions or abilities, there willbe tendencies to cease comparing oneself to those who are very differentin the group.
In , social comparison theory is one explanation for this tendency we have to make comparisons between ourselves and others. Almost all of the participants agreed to walk into the waiting room and persuade the confederate that the boring experiment would be fun. Downward comparisons, when contrastive, can produce such emotions as pride and contempt; when they are assimilative, they can produce worry, fear, or pity. Cognitive dissonance was first investigated by Leon Festinger, arising out of a participant observation study of a cult which believed that the earth was going to be destroyed by a flood, and what happened to its members — particularly the really committed ones who had given up their homes and jobs to work for the cult — when the flood did not happen. Concern with related attributes similarity and its evaluative consequences provides the basis for one of the main elaborations of social comparison theory: Goethals and Darley's 1977 attributional approach.
We initially compare ourselves to everyone. First, individuals are driven to evaluate their abilities and opinions. Information systems research, 26 3 , 585-605. Motivations, coupled with perceptual processes, are critical in determining the choice of comparison others. Concerns with justice potentially stimulate social comparisons at all levels.