Accuracy of estimates in the social comparison of abilities

Ofra Mayseless, Arie W. Kruglanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An experiment was conducted to test the proposition that comparison with others similar to oneself in performance affords more accurate self-evaluations than comparison with dissimilar others. A previous study presumably demonstrating this effect (R. Radloff, 1966, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Suplement, 1, 6-26) was reinterpreted. It was suggested that in that particular experiment, performance dissimilarity of comparison others may have been confounded with subjects' disconfirmed expectancies concerning own performance. In the present experiment, similarity of comparison others (manipulated via performance extremity relative to others in the group) was orthogonally manipulated to consistency (versus inconsistency) with an expectancy. As predicted, inconsistency with expectancy exerted adverse effects on the accuracy of self-evaluations whereas dissimilarity from comparison others did not. Significance of the findings for social comparison processes was discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1987
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Arie W. Kruglanski, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1202 W. Johnson Ave., Madison, Wl 53706. ’ This paper was written while Kruglanski was on sabbatical leave from Tel-Aviv University and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Mayseless held a post-doctoral appointment at the University of California, Berkeley. * The present research is part of a doctoral dissertation conducted by the second author under the first author’s supervision. This research was supported by Foundation Trustees research fund for Ph.D. candidates, Grant No. 4, Project A615 (1981-1983).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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