Biases in Social Comparisons: Optimism Or Pessimism?

Geeta Menon, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Ellie Kyung, New York University, USA
Nidhi Agrawal, Northwestern University, USA
Given that people rarely are fully calibrated in terms of how they compare to others, we examine how beliefs about one’s own and inferences about an other’s perceived control over a situation influence whether a better-than-average versus worse-than-average bias will occur. In addition, we illustrate that merely increasing perceived similarity between self and others in an unrelated domain can attenuate both of these biases. However, attenuating bias does not always have a positive impact on whether people choose to strive harder for positive outcomes. In some cases, people are more motivated to act in situations where biased inferences about others persist.
[ to cite ]:
Geeta Menon, Ellie Kyung, and Nidhi Agrawal (2010) ,"Biases in Social Comparisons: Optimism Or Pessimism?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 20-23 .