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Child Dev. 1988 Feb;59(1):97-106.

Conflicting goals in self-evaluative information seeking: developmental and ability level analyses.

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New York University, NY 10003.


Developmental changes in the resolution of conflicting goals involved in self-evaluation were examined in children entering second, fourth, and sixth grades representing high, medium, and low ability levels in arithmetic. Children completed a series of arithmetic tasks and were given an opportunity to evaluate themselves in terms of social comparison or autonomous comparison. As expected, overall, high-ability children engaged in the most self-evaluative information seeking, whereas low-ability children engaged in the least information seeking. Moreover, with increasing age, high-ability children were more likely to engage in autonomous comparison, whereas low- and medium-ability children maintained an interest in social comparison. In addition, greater interest in social comparison, particularly among older children, was associated with relative uncertainty about one's own ability but perceptions of ability as constant in others. The results are discussed in terms of strategies for balancing self-assessment with self-enhancement needs and the impact of such strategies for task mastery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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