Social Comparison Processes - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Sociology

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 17 pages of information about Social Comparison Processes.
This section contains 4,895 words
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How do people come to understand themselves? A response to this age-old question involves what has been labeled everyone's "second favorite theory" (Goethals 1986): social comparison. The original formulation of social comparison theory (Festinger 1954) demonstrated how, in the absence of objective standards, individuals use other people to fulfill their informational needs to evaluate their own opinions and abilities. The process of social comparison underlies social evaluation (Pettigrew 1967) and relates to reference group processes (e.g., Hyman and Singer 1968), which in turn are critical to understanding diverse sociological issues pertaining, for example, to identity development, justice, interpersonal and intergroup relationships, and group decision making. Thus, the "second favorite" status of social comparison theory reflects the preference of researchers for particular theories about each of these topics, which nonetheless promote the centrality and breadth of social comparison processes in sociological pursuits. To explain the multifaceted role of...

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This section contains 4,895 words
(approx. 17 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Social Comparison Processes Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan
Social Comparison Processes from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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