Social comparison theory and drive for self evaluation psychology essay

Social Comparison

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. However, this view is by no means universally accepted.

It is perplexing, however, that the dimensions of similarity need not always be related to the dimension under evaluation to be relevant. This theory inspired a resurgence of interest in social comparison that has not abated.

This view holds that people make comparisons by relatively automatically comparing themselves with the others they come across in their daily lives.

Handbook of social comparison: For example, people often compare themselves with same-sex others, even if the dimension of comparison has little to do with gender. Psychological Bulletin, 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.

Considerable evidence has attested to the importance of such related attributes. 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.

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.

People may compare themselves with other people for a variety of reasons: The most informative, meaningful comparisons may occur with others who are similar in attributes related to the dimension under evaluation.

Indeed, social comparisons may sometimes be more important than objective information. Increasingly, researchers have used methods that are more naturalistic e. 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.

Social Comparison Social Comparison Definition Social comparison involves thinking about information about one or more other people in relation to the self. 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.

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. 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.

An upward comparison with a superior other may be inspiring, rather than demoralizing, if one thinks that one will improve and can attain the level of the upward target. For example, breast cancer patients who are disadvantaged on one dimension e. 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.

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. 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.

When objective standards for self-evaluation are unavailable, he said, they compare themselves with other people.

Theory and research concerning social comparisons of personal attributes. Festinger argued that humans have a drive to evaluate their opinions and abilities. Contemporary theory and research. Another relatively new view that is more widely shared is that people frequently make comparisons without deliberately selecting comparison targets.

What determines the impact of comparisons? Although Festinger devoted much of his theory to interpersonal processes—for example, he proposed that the need for similar comparison with others leads to pressures toward uniformity in groups—social comparison researchers have focused mostly on individuals and their selections of individual comparison targets.

The possibility that comparisons may be made automatically, perhaps even outside of awareness, also threaten the validity of such measures as self-reported comparisons. Yet, when people are asked how they evaluate themselves and their lives, they mention social comparison infrequently.

Importance of Social Comparison Comparisons with other people are widely believed to be a ubiquitous ever-present aspect of social life.

For example, guitarists may compare their playing ability with those of others who are similar in their guitar-playing ability, or with others who are similar in more general ways, such as the kind of guitar and music they play acoustic or electric, classical or folk or gender.

The theory has been applied beyond opinions and abilities to emotions and to all kinds of personal attributes e.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.

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.

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.

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.

primarily studied the self-evaluation process—that is, how people evaluate their present state relative to others (e.g., The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective Stephen M.

Garcia1, Avishalom Tor2, According to social comparison theory, individuals (“actors”) are propelled by a basic drive—the “unidirec.

Social comparison theory and drive for self evaluation psychology essay
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