Publication

The ups and downs of social comparison: Mechanisms of assimilation and contrast

Mussweiler, T., Ruter, K. & Epstude, K., Dec-2004, In : Journal of personality and social psychology. 87, 6, p. 832-844 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Social comparisons influence self-evaluations in multiple ways. Sometimes self-evaluations are assimilated toward a given standard. At other times, they are contrasted away from the standard. On the basis of the selective accessibility model (T. Mussweiler, 2003a), the authors hypothesized that assimilation results if judges engage. in the comparison process of similarity testing and selectively focus on similarities to the standard, whereas contrast occurs if judges engage in dissimilarity testing- and selectively focus on differences. If these alternative comparison mechanisms are indeed at play, then assimilative and contrastive social comparisons should be accompanied by diverging informational foci on similarities versus differences. Results of 5 studies support this reasoning, demonstrating that assimilation results under conditions that foster similarity testing, whereas contrast occurs under conditions that foster dissimilarity testing. Furthermore, assimilative social comparisons are accompanied by a general informational focus on similarities, whereas contrastive comparisons are accompanied by a focus on differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-844
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume87
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2004

    Keywords

  • SELF-EVALUATION, AFFECTIVE CONSEQUENCES, IN-GROUP, JUDGMENT, IMPACT, INFORMATION, DIRECTION, BEHAVIOR, CONTEXT, ESTEEM

ID: 13216313