مقایسه اجتماعی: پایان یک نظریه و ظهور یک حوزه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36972||2007||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12730 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 102, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 3–21
Abstract The past and current states of research on social comparison are reviewed with regard to a series of major theoretical developments that have occurred in the past 5 decades. These are, in chronological order: (1) classic social comparison theory, (2) fear-affiliation theory, (3) downward comparison theory, (4) social comparison as social cognition, and (5) individual differences in social comparison. In addition, we discuss a number of expansions of research on social comparison as they are currently occurring, and we outline what we see as likely and desirable future directions, including an expansion of areas, methods, and conceptualizations, as well as a stronger focus on cognitive, neuroscientific, and evolutionary aspects of social comparison.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Conclusion and future prospects Social comparison is a ubiquitous social phenomenon. Virtually everyone does it from time to time, mostly because it can fulfill functions that are fundamental, such as providing useful information about where one stands in one’s social world, feeling better about oneself, and learning how to adapt to challenging situations. It is remarkable that, despite this ubiquity, until 2 decades ago, social comparison—clearly a very basic and prototypical social psychological process—was a more or less peripheral topic in social psychology. This situation has changed radically. Recent research is focusing not only on the various functions of social comparison but also on the fact that people do differ quite a bit in their tendency to compare themselves with others and on the implications of such differences. The ongoing expansion of research on social comparison will probably move social comparison still more to the center stage of social psychology, as it may demonstrate the relevance of a social comparison approach for a variety of issues and will link social comparison perspectives more to other areas in social psychology. Given the dramatic expansion of the realm of social comparison research, it is not possible to outline all future directions the field might take, or would need to take.A number of basic issues still need a considerable degree of theoretical and empirical clarification, however, including, for example, the still relatively unexplored issue of social comparison of opinions, the question of what exactly is social comparison and what is not, the question to what extent affiliation is motivated by social comparison needs, the effect of self-affirmation on social comparison, the relation between social comparison and coping and health behavior, and the role of individual differences in social comparison. Two particularly interesting issues that might be explored in future research are the long-term effects of feeling better off than others on longevity, for which there is now preliminary evidence (Bailis, Chipperfield, & Perry, 2005), and the cultural influences on social comparison, which are just beginning to be explored (e.g., Lockwood et al., 2005 and White and Lehman, 2005). A major turn that social comparison research seems to be taking, and needs to take, is focusing on the cognitive processes that mediate the relation between social comparison and its attendant outcomes—affective, cognitive, and behavioral—a central issue that nevertheless has received relatively little attention from early comparison researchers. It seems likely that in the coming years our insight into social comparison processes will be enhanced further by employing techniques and models developed in the social cognition and social judgment literature. One approach, suggested by Gilbert, Giesler, & Morris (1995) two-step model, which may prove very fruitful in the future, is to take a dual-process perspective ( Chaiken & Trope, 1999) on comparison. That is, to what extent do social comparisons involve more heuristic (image-based, affective) processing vs more analytic or systematic (i.e., reasoned, thoughtful) processing? Are there circumstances that promote one type over another, and, if so, what are their consequences in terms of self-evaluation and or behavior? We also believe that both the extent to which and the way in which social comparisons may function automatically and subconsciously constitute major issues for future research. Thus, we would expect more research in the future that examines priming effects, with similar or dissimilar upward and downward targets, or perhaps priming of loved ones instead of the self. The same goes for research that looks at reaction times in response to different types of comparisons. These techniques may also reduce some of the problems associated with a general reluctance to acknowledge engaging in social comparison. A particularly promising development in the future concerns the links that may be made between social comparison and neuroscientific and evolutionary approaches. With respect to the former, we anticipate work in the future that will examine brain activity during different types of comparison processes and opportunities (cf. Fadiga, Craighero, & Olivier, 2005); e.g., can reactions to upward vs downward comparison be detected at a neural level? Are different parts of the brain activated depending on who the comparison target is or what s/he is doing? With regard to the evolutionary perspective, it has been suggested, for example, that social comparisons assist individuals in determining their rank in the group, which has adaptive value (Gilbert, 1990, Gilbert et al., 1995 and Buunk and Brenninkmeijer, 2000), and that the desire to be better on dimensions that are important to oneself and the desire to have friends who are better than oneself on dimensions that are unimportant to oneself developed in the course of evolution as elaborated mechanisms to prevent potentially harmful competition in groups (Beach & Tesser, 2000). It is a challenge for future research to develop experimental paradigms to examine such issues, including their neuroscientific underpinnings. More generally, the question of the utility of social comparison as a means to effect positive changes in behavior is worthy of more attention in the future. Specifically, there is a need for research that looks at the motivational effects of induced or (judiciously) encouraged comparison with certain targets—good students, for example, or other role models. The same applies to work that examines the intervention utility of induced, but “controlled,” comparisons (e.g., with former smokers or people undergoing successful postinjury rehabilitation). Overall, we remain optimistic that more light will be shed on many unresolved issues in the coming years, and we see an active, and most likely continued controversial, future ahead for the theory and its adherents.