ERIC Number: ED212968
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-10
Reference Count: 0
The Effect of Social Comparison Processes on Self-Evaluative Reactions.
Ward, Wanda E.
Much research has investigated the processes by which individuals gain information about themselves through comparison with others. The simultaneous influence of different sources of social comparison referents and the level of relative performance on subjects' (N=60) allocation of rewards and satisfaction was examined. Male undergraduates, working in pairs, predicted their scores on a speech about solutions to current problems, made the speeches, and then received predetermined feedback on their own score, their partner's score (live referent) and a mean score of all subjects (symbolic referent). Subjects indicated their satisfaction with their scores and allocated rewards to themselves and their partners. Controlling for feedback, results on allocation indicated significant main effects for performance relative to the live referent and relative to the symbolic norm. Subjects gave themselves more points when they performed better than their partner than when they performed worse than their partner, suggesting a straightforward self-evaluation effect. Subjects allocated more points to themselves when they performed worse than the norm than when they performed better than the norm, suggesting a self-enhancement effect. Although the social comparison process was operative, satisfaction was influenced principally by subjects' absolute performance scores. The findings suggest that different sources of social comparison and self-regulatory mechanisms play an influential role in individuals' lives. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Social Comparison
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (61st, Los Angeles, CA, April 9-12, 1981).