ERIC Number: ED259252
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-May
Task Characteristics and Target Choice in Social Comparison.
Gorenflo, Daniel W.
Festinger's (1954) theory of social comparison holds that in the absence of objective standards, people use the attitudes or judgments of similar others to determine the correctness of their own positions. More recent studies have suggested, however, that people often prefer dissimilar comparison targets. A study was undertaken to examine the effect of subjective versus objective judgments on target choice. Undergraduates (N=103), divided into groups on the basis of their perceptual judgments on a minimal groups task, were asked to review the credentials of a college applicant and predict his likelihood of success. Subjects in the objective judgment condition were told they had sufficient information to make judgments while subjects in the subjective condition were instructed to base judgments on personal opinions. Subjects were told that ingroup and outgroup members had evaluated the same applicant as they, and were asked to state their preference for comparing their judgments with ingroup and outgroup members. The manipulation of judgmental nature was found to affect subjects' comparison preferences. The results revealed a strong preference for comparison with similar others in the subjective judgment condition, and for dissimilar others in the objective judgment condition. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A