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PSYC 333 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Lecture Recording, Barrette, Social Comparison Theory

Course Code
PSYC 333
Jennifer Bartz
Study Guide

of 14
PSYC333 Lecture 5 - Jan. 24
Most people have illusions about the self:
Positively biased self evaluations
Illusions of control
More than what’s actually within their control
Risk assessments
Overconfident and often underestimate reality
Such illusions are adaptive and associated with more positive outcomes (adjustment to college,
more effective coping, onset of symptoms and course of AIDS)
The Better than Average Effect
Feeling “Holier Than Thou”: (Epley & Dunning, 2000)
False uniqueness about desirable qualities
Cooperative, considerate, fair, kind, loyal, sincere
Also true of specific behaviours (likelihood of rebelling in Milgram obedience studies)
People chronically feel “holier than thou”
Is this because they:
Harbor overly cynical views of their peers
Or overly charitable views of themselves (and accurate views of their peers)?
False uniqueness about desirable qualities:
People consistently overestimated the likelihood that they would chose the kinder course of
action by an average of 32% (but only by 4% for others)
People have a lifetime of information about themselves to draw upon, so why do they have more
difficulty predicting their own behaviour?
What kind of information do people consider when making these judgments?
Case based information
Information relevant to the specific case or the person relevant to the specific case
Would those individuals participate
Base rate information
Reference distribution of people’s behaviour in general in similar situations or in situations
of the past
Although people are pretty accurate in perceiving, learning and reporting distributional information,
they prefer to use case-based information when making predictions
People prefer to use case-based information when making predictions
“Internal approach to prediction”
When making predictions about the self in relation to others, people must:
Evaluate their own traits, dispositions and likely behaviour
AND evaluate others’ traits, dispositions and likely behaviour
An error
4 studies: People overestimate the likelihood that they would choose the kinder course of action by
an average of 32% (but only by 4% for others)
Strange finding: People have a lifetime of information about themselves to draw upon, so why do
they have more difficulty predicting their own behaviour?
“Daffodil Days”:
Conducted at Cornell university
Asked students to purchase daffodil, proceeds go to Cancer Society
5 weeks before event:
“Will you buy at least one daffodil and, is so, how many?”
Will your peers buy? What is the chance and how many will they buy?
3 days after event:
“Did you buy any daffodil? How many?
Ps overestimate the extent to
Self-serving attributions errors are more in self view than the predictive behaviours of others
Used within subjects design, Ps are compared to themselves; thus a flaw because it is biased since
Ps tend to conform to prediction of their own behaviour
Daffodil study is also flawed because since the event was in the future when asked to predict,
maybe they construed the situation to be different then it actually played out
“A Saint’s Dilemma”:
Used between subjects design
Not compared to self; compared to other group
Every Ps thought about the same situation
Prisoners Dilemma (% of Cooperation):
Most participants say they would choose the cooperative method for themselves
Ps would say lower % of other Ps would be cooperative
Predicting How Much You Will Donate:
$5.00 paid to you
List of three charities:
Salvation Army
Red Cross
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Compared prediction of what students would do hypothetically in comparison to what they actually
physically do
Third scenario had a twist: Ps made prediction, experimenter told Ps distributional information on
other Ps. With each new piece of information, Ps would be able to make changes on their choices
and predictions of other Ps
Use case-based information when making decisions that affect themselves
Influence of Base Rate Information on $ Donation Predictions:
Ps tend to think highly of themselves, they would donate more than peers
Base rate information had no effect on Ps own behaviour, but affected Ps prediction of random peer
Taking base rate information increased their accuracy of their predictions
Self Reports of Sources of Influence:
We try to be consistent with our own behaviour
If we predict our own behaviour, we tend to conform to this. However, experimenter says this isn’t a
Experimenter created a new test in which Ps predicted about themselves, the average student and
then about a specific peer of which they had case based information
When predicting about a specific peer, they had case based information, Ps preferred to use case
based information and disregarded distributional information, so when case based information was
present, they used it instead, resulting in the better than average effect for themselves and their
Comparative Ability Judgments:
Egocentric process
How skilled am I?
How skilled are my peers?
Above average if absolute skills high (or requirements for success low)
Below average if absolute skills low
Anchor and adjustment process
We anchor on the question and then fail to adjust for our peers, therefore, if people are good in
a domain that’s easy there is above average, however, if the domain is difficult there is a below
average effect
Below average effect In some domains, people will rate themselves below average (artistic
abilities and acting/mechanical abilities) - societal influence?
Below average and above average are the result of same process (egocentric one)
Anchoring and (Insufficient) Adjustment:
People’s own skills serve as judgmental anchor, but we fail to fully consider the skills of others in
the model:
Ps should see themselves as above average for easy abilities and below average for difficult ones
Ps own abilities should account for more variance in comparative judgments
Study 2:
Experimentally manipulate Ps perceptions of their absolute skills:
Assess “integrative ability”
Ps took test to see where they measure on this integrative ability
Hard vs. Easy test
50% of Ps had hard and 50% of Ps had easy test
Compare ability with peers (0-99 percentile)
Easy test, then ability above average (63% vs. 50%)
Difficult test, then ability below average (41.9%)
Estimate absolute ability (1-10)…
If we are not good at something AND we realize that we are not good - below average effect
But we tend to think we are good at most things - better than average effect
In comparative judgements, we give undue weight to information about our own skills
We fixate on where we see ourselves and then we do not take into account where their peers are
producing above and below average effects
Non-motivational Explanations:
How sociable am I? Ignore how sociable are students in general
Compared with you how athletic is you classmate
Idea that people focus on how they compare, and not their peers; more focused on the “I” factor
Generalized group:
Single entity compared to larger group