Doing worse, but feeling happy: Social comparison and identification in response to upward and downward targets

H. A. K. Groothof*, F. W. Siero, A.P. Buunk

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    We investigated people’s responses to exposure to downward and upward targets. In Study 1, among 197 participants, it was predicted and found that such exposure led to a contrast effect on self-evaluation, and to an assimilation effect on affect. In Study 2, among 148 participants, it was predicted and found that the contrast effect on self-evaluation occurred in particular when participants were induced to compare themselves with the target, and that the assimilation effect on affect occurred, in particular, when participants were induced to identify themselves with the target. This study provides preliminary evidence that social comparison and identification are separate processes that influence different variables, in opposite ways.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)125-144
    Number of pages20
    JournalRevue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale-International Review of Socialpsychology
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • social comparison
    • identification
    • upward and downward comparison targets
    • assimilation and contrast
    • affects
    • self-evaluation

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