24 terms

2.1- Social Comparison

STUDY
PLAY
What does Festinger's Social Comparison Theory say?
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Criticism?
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-We all want an accurate assessment of who we are.
-We will usually use an object standard to make such assessment, but it's not always available
+Lacking an objective standard, we look to others
+The need for a comparison is higher under times of uncertainty or threat.
-We don't just comparisons when we are lacking objective information, we make them all of the time.
Under Festinger's Social Comparison Theory, when is the need for a comparison the highest?
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-Under times of uncertainty or threat
Who can we use as comparison targets?
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-Similar others
-Downward targets
+Someone doing worse off
-Upward target
+Someone doing better
-Supercoper
+A very well off upward target often portrayed in the media
Effects of a downward target comparison
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-Can help to make a person feel better
ex: Thinking that you're doing better and coping well
-Can also make a person feel worse
ex: Feeling bad for them and possibly guilt that you are doing better
Effects of an upward target comparison
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-Can help to make a person feel good/better
ex: Thinking they can do it, so can I
-Can also make a person feel worse
ex: Feeling like you are doing so much worse off and not coping as well
Why do we compare?
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-Self-evaluation
-Self-esteem
-Information
-Inspiration
In the primary appraisal stage, what comparison would be helpful to make?
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What does this do/provide?
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-Upward comparison
-Provides information that can help with problem focused coping or emotion focused coping efforts
During situations that decrease one's sense of well being, what comparison would be helpful to make?
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What does this do/provide?
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-Downward comparison
-Help's a person self-enhance and feel better about their situation
In the Wood, Taylor, and Lichtman article, what does the supercoper perspective say?
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-Personal contact with comparison others is often unavailable to patients
-Contact with media supercopers may make patients feel inadequate
In the Wood, Taylor, and Lichtman article, what does the similarity perspective say?
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Why?
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Argument:
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-Patients select comparison targets who are similar to themselves
-Because those comparisons should be the most informative
-Dimension specific or related attributes?
Dimension specific vs. related attribute
-Dimension specific =
ex:
-Related attributes =
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-Dimension specific = comparing yourself with others who are adjusting similarly
ex: comparing your swimming with someone who has a similar time
-Related attributes = comparing yourself to someone who has similar attributes related to the dimension under evaluation
ex: comparing yourself to someone with a similar time given their age, experience, and recent practice (all attributes related to swimming)
In the Wood, Taylor, and Lichtman article, what does the upward comparison perspective say?
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-It is predictive of comparisons to relatively advantaged or superior individuals
What is a person making a downward social comparison doing?
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-Hypothetical worse worlds
+Imagining someone/something that is worse off
+Creating a downward social comparison to make yourself feel better
ex: Awww, this sucks but it could have been worse!
-Manufacturing normative standard
+Thinking that you're better off than the average person
ex: Yeah, I'm doing better than average
-Selectively focusing on dimensions that make one appear advantaged
+Even thought someone might be doing better in one area, you criticize them about other things
ex: Yeah that person is doing well but they aren't married like I am
-Constructing benefits
+Finding the positives of a situation
ex: I am a stronger person now
In the Wood, Taylor, and Lichtman article, what does the downward comparison perspective say?
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Why?
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How/by using what?
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-Under conditions of threat, individuals make comparisons to people who are inferior or less fortunate
-Because it enhances their self-esteem
-Hypothetical worse worlds
-Manufacturing normative standard
-Selectively focusing on dimensions that make one appear advantaged
-Constructing benefits
What was the goal of Wood, Taylor, and Lichtman?
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Results:
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-To assess the nature of social comparisons in women with breast cancer
-The more contact a women has with the media, the worse she thinks she is coping compared with other women
-Comparisons with similar others is relatively infrequent
+Comparisons were common with other cancer patients (downward comparisons specifically)
-Most people that they were doing better off than other
-Most women made downward situational comparisons
-Less family support and closer to surgery were related to making more downward social comparisons
Why does being closer to surgery make it more likely that someone will make a downward social comparison?
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-Because thinking about surgery is going to b e very threatening
-Making a downward comparison will boost your self esteem to help you get through surgery
Research evidence -
Responses to comparison information experiment
Setup:
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Findings:
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What is strange about these results?
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why?
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-Participants were read blurbs about cancer patients and their experience
-Asked how they felt afterwards
-People who got information about a person doing better responded more positively
-People who go information about person doing worse responded more negatively
-They are the opposite from what previous studies had found
+You feel worse for the person doing worse off (downward target)
-Because this is an actual person that you have to feel bad for instead of a hypothetical person that you created.
Based on research, people prefer upward comparisons for what?
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-Emotion and informational focused coping
Research evidence -
Stanton experiential manipulation experiment
Setup:
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Findings:
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-Women with breast cancer were exposed to one of 9 audiotaped, scripted interviews
+Prognosis (good, poor, unspecified)
+Adjustment (good, poor, unspecified)
-Asked these women many different questions afterwards
-Women preferred to be around upward targets
-Women benefited more from listening to a downward target
Research evidence -
Bennenbroeck experimental manipulation experiment
Setup:
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Results:
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-Exposed cancer patient to one of three audiotapes
+Procedural: Experience of cancer and radiation therapy
+Emotion: Emotional reactions
+Coping: What I experienced and how I coped
-Subjective understanding increased with exposure to procedural tape
+Your knowledge about the cancer treatment
-Reported validation of emotions was similar across all three conditions
-Self-efficacy increased with exposure to coping and procedural tapes
+Belief in your own ability to be successful
-Negative mood was highest with emotional tape
What were the findings in Bennenbroecker's experimental manipulation with cancer patients using audiotapes?
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-Subjective understand increased with exposure to procedural tape
-Reported validation of emotions was similar across all three conditions
-Self-efficacy increased with exposure to coping and procedural tapes
-Negative mood was highest with emotional tape
Subjective understanding =
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-Your knowledge about the cancer treatment
Self-efficacy =
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-Belief in our own ability to be successful
Social comparisons summary
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-Social comparisons do occur frequently in response to health-related threats
-Social comparisons can be active, in that we create desirable targets
-Both upward and downward comparisons have been shows to have some positive and some negative consequences