What Is Social Comparison?

Decent Essays
Festinger (1954) put forth a theory to the world regarding social comparison processes. Although many researchers discussed social comparison before him, he was the first to put all of their hypotheses together and discuss social comparison in general. He proposed three major hypotheses: (1) self-evaluation is a human’s drive, (2) humans like to evaluate themselves accurately, (3) and a smaller difference in abilities and opinions provides a larger tendency to compare with peers and family. Pertaining to Festinger’s first hypothesis, in order to compare oneself concisely, the evaluation of others must be accurate otherwise, it is fatal to compare according to Festinger (1954). In his second hypothesis, a human only judge behaviors in order…show more content…
In order to prove this theory, many researchers conducted experiments to prove that these evaluations produce many drastic (or beneficial for some) effects. Nesi and Prinstein (2015) and Shakya, Christakis and Fowler (2015) conducted experiments to prove Festinger’s theory is also affected by social media use and obesity. Nesi et al. desired to examine technology based behaviours regarding social comparison and interpersonal feedback seeking. They hypothesized that these behaviours and attitudes towards technology produce depressive symptoms in adolescence. In their experiment, they used 619 eighth and ninth graders that complete self-report questionnaires at two times. In order to measure depressive symptoms, they used The Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire that provides statements for students to check whether it is true or false. In order to measure…show more content…
Nesi and Prinstein’s experiment revealed participants levels of depression at the time one were satisfactory, but then a year later were below average along with more frequent social media use as well as more seeking of reassurance among adolescence. As well as some other factors that cause social comparison on social media revealed that social media set the basis for a desire for communication of romantic and social reasons, support seeking, and discussion about sexual health topics. Popularity and gender played major roles in determining the tendency to evaluate others; comparisons that are more frequent resulted among low popularity females. Shakya et al.’s experiment resulted in respondents feeling slightly heavier, slightly less fit, and significantly less popular than their friends and “reflecting a known attribute of social networks that nominated individuals… higher in social status than those who have nominated them” (Shakya et al., 2015, p. 2479). Shakya et al. conclude, people believe that they are superior were less likely to diet, however, would engage in exercise contrary to people that believe there are inferior that were more likely to diet but would not
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