Social Comparison

We make comparisons every day, both mundane and meaningful.  For example, we compare the strengths and weaknesses of several movies when deciding what to watch and consider whether our peers seem happier, healthier, wealthier, and wiser than us.  Dr. Rose’s research focuses on comparative judgment biases and the impact of social comparison on emotion, cognition, and behavior.  Below are some recent examples of research questions that the Rose lab has investigated:

What types of comparison standards are most meaningful when people make decisions?  For example, when a person is considering whether to increase their amount of exercise, do they place more emphasis on how their amount of exercise compares to their peers’ (descriptive comparison), the amount recommended by health experts (prescriptive comparison), or their own goals (personal comparison)?

When and why are people more concerned about their social comparative risk for a health threat (i.e., whether their risk level is above or below average) vs. their absolute risk for the health threat (i.e., whether their risk level is low or high).

Why, and under what conditions, are people egocentric when judging themselves relative to various comparative standards (e.g., the average person, best friend)?

How has the advent of social media (e.g., Facebook) changed social comparison processes and outcomes?

For a list of relevant citations, click here.