Mere Categorization and the Frog-Pond Effect

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ethan Zell, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Zell and Alicke (2009) have shown that comparisons with a few people have a stronger influence on self-evaluations than comparisons with larger samples. One explanation for this effect is that people readily categorize their standing in small groups as “good” or “bad,” which supersedes large-sample data. To test this explanation, we created a situation in which students learned that their performance ranked 5th or 6th out of 10 persons on a task. In each experimental session, two groups, each containing 5 people, were created by random assignment. Some students learned that their performance placed them last in one group of 5, and some learned that they were first in the other group of 5. In the other conditions, participants learned only that that they were 5th or 6th in the group of 10. Results showed that being last in the superior group led to lower self-evaluations than being first in the inferior group.

Additional Information

Psychological Science, 21, 174-177
Language: English
Date: 2010
self-evaluation, social comparison, social identity, frog-pond effect

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