PSY 106 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Santa Barbara City College, Affluenza, Social Comparison Theory

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The" american paradox" applies to the fact that, given globe-wide income gains over the past 50 years, happiness levels have remained the same. There are a few reasons for that. The first is the relative quality model which is sponsored fairly well. Subjective well-being is primarily a function of processes of comparison (social comparison, with previous self, with internalized standards). When we communicate with others, in many ways, we can not help but compare ourselves to them. Also called social comparison, either in an upward or downward spiral, we can compare our position, attractiveness and wealth to others. In the end, we tend to seek out and interact with people who make us feel good about ourselves and not people that make us feel bad. So our brand new handbag designer is just great until we see a larger, more luxurious, and new one on a friend in the season.

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