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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Feb;82(2):239-51.

When you and I are "we," you are not threatening: the role of self-expansion in social comparison.

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Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


Many theories of self-evaluation emphasize the power of social comparison. Simply put, an individual is thought to gain esteem whenever she or he outperforms others and to lose esteem when he or she is outperformed. The current research explored interdependent self-construal as a moderator of these effects. Two studies used a priming task to manipulate the level of self-construal and investigate effects of social comparison in dyadic (Study 1) and group situations (Study 2). Both studies demonstrated that when the target for comparison is construed as part of the self, his or her successes become cause for celebration rather than costs to esteem. Additionally, gender differences in chronic relational and collective self-construals moderated the patterns of social comparison in a form similar to that of priming relational and collective self-construals.

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