Social comparison theory and drive for self evaluation psychology essay

He also noted that people have a drive to improve themselves, which often results in upward comparisons, comparisons with others who are superior to themselves or more advantaged in some way.

The possibility that comparisons may be made automatically, perhaps even outside of awareness, also threaten the validity of such measures as self-reported comparisons.

Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. People may compare themselves with other people for a variety of reasons: For example, breast cancer patients who are disadvantaged on one dimension e. However, this view is by no means universally accepted. Social Comparison Social Comparison Definition Social comparison involves thinking about information about one or more other people in relation to the self.

And people do not usually regard themselves as smart, attractive, or wealthy unless they see themselves as ranking higher on these dimensions than the other people in their nearby surroundings.

Effects of Social Comparisons The traditional assumption has been that upward comparisons make people feel worse about themselves and that downward comparisons make them feel better, but research has revealed that both types of comparisons can be either inspiring or dispiriting.

Importance of Social Comparison Comparisons with other people are widely believed to be a ubiquitous ever-present aspect of social life. Some researchers have even argued that people may create imaginary comparison targets to serve their goals.

For example, guitarists can best evaluate their playing ability if they compare them-selves with other guitarists who play similar instruments and who have been playing about the same amount of time. The s also saw a shift toward field research, and considerable evidence of downward comparisons has emerged from diverse samples of people under psychological threat.

Indeed, social comparisons may sometimes be more important than objective information.

This theory inspired a resurgence of interest in social comparison that has not abated. Social comparison theory has inspired a great deal of research, but the history of the literature is uneven, with spikes of activity in andand then a more steady output since the early s.

When objective standards for self-evaluation are unavailable, he said, they compare themselves with other people. For example, people often compare themselves with same-sex others, even if the dimension of comparison has little to do with gender.

It is perplexing, however, that the dimensions of similarity need not always be related to the dimension under evaluation to be relevant. This view holds that people make comparisons by relatively automatically comparing themselves with the others they come across in their daily lives.

These operationalizations have yielded results that do not always converge, perhaps partly because they capture different meanings or facets of social comparison. Similarly, the effects of comparisons are especially strong when they are with others who are similar, even if the dimension of similarity seems to bear no relation to the dimension of comparison e.

The most informative, meaningful comparisons may occur with others who are similar in attributes related to the dimension under evaluation. This view turns the original theory on its head; whereas Festinger viewed the individual as seeking comparisons to establish reality, this view holds that the individual fabricates reality to serve his or her goals.

For example, a runner who already knows that he or she ran meters in 15 seconds may still want to know that his or her time was the second fastest. Women with breast cancer and people with eating disorders, for example, have been shown to compare themselves with others who are less fortunate than themselves.

In the s, researchers increasingly viewed the individual not as an unbiased self-evaluator but as a person with needs to feel good about himself or herself.

Contemporary theory and research.In Festinger’s book of Social Comparison Processes, he provided hypotheses which provide good analysis of his theory. The first one states that “there exist, in the human organism, a drive to evaluate his opinions and abilities”.

A Theory of Social Comparison Processes, Retrieved September 12, Such theories and hypotheses in the area of social psychology are frequently viewed in terms of In other words, there is a self-imposed restriction in the range of opinion or ability with which a person compares himself.

Social comparison theory was first proposed in by psychologist Leon Festinger and suggested that people have an innate drive to evaluate. The drive theory of social facilitation by Zajonc () is widely accepted, but many researchers currently stand along with Baron’s () distraction conflict theory.

Either way, all three theories provide good knowledge.

Social Comparison

Social comparison has been operationalized in many ways, including the choice of another person’s score to see, the desire to affiliate, self-reports of past comparisons, the effects of comparisons on mood and self-evaluation, and ratings of self versus others.

Leon Festinger’s Social Comparison Theory by Psychology Notes HQ · June 11, In the early ’s, the Behavioral Sciences Division of the Ford Foundation gave Leon Festinger a grant, which was part of the program of the Laboratory for Research in .

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Social comparison theory and drive for self evaluation psychology essay
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