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Social Comparison, Judgment, and Behavior$
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Jerry Suls, Rebecca L. Collins, and Ladd Wheeler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190629113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190629113.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Comparing One and Many

Comparing One and Many

Insights From Judgment and Decision-Making for Social Comparison

(p.386) 14 Comparing One and Many
Social Comparison, Judgment, and Behavior

Eleanor Putnam-Farr

Carey K. Morewedge

Oxford University Press

Social comparisons are not only ubiquitous and influential but also represent a naturally occurring example of more general evaluative judgment. As such, they can be examined using the general types of mental processes that are used in the judgment and decision-making literature. While the direction of social comparison processes can be easily characterized as upward or downward, for instance, their specific calibration (e.g., sensitivity to absolute differences) is more difficult to determine. Insights gleaned from judgment and decision-making can inform research examining the calibration of social comparisons to different standards. In turn, the specific lessons gleaned from social comparisons, particularly with respect to how comparison targets are chosen, can inform judgment and decision-making. The chapter begins with a successful example of the integration of these literatures, research on anchoring bias. The authors then explain how social comparison research might benefit from judgment and decision-making research examining how calibration and sensitivity to absolute differences depend on the number of standards in the comparison set and their relative position on a continuum. The authors review different prototype, exemplar, and hybrid models explaining how people compare a target to distributions and sets of multiple standards, which could be of use to researchers examining social comparisons to multiple targets and groups. The chapter ends by noting how judgment and decision-making may benefit from the insight that social comparisons provide into the selection of comparison standards and directions for cross-pollination between these fields.

Keywords:   judgment, decision-making, anchoring bias, prototype, exemplar, hybrid models, comparison standards

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