About this Research Topic
Social comparisons are a powerful tool used as a default for self-evaluation when the context contains social information. People often base their self-evaluations on how they compare against others. Indeed, comparative judgment is appealing because it is perceived to be more accurate, while social comparisons are so pervasive that people attend to them even outside of their conscious awareness. Moreover, laboratory-controlled studies have documented that people engage in social comparisons even when the comparison standard is presented subliminally to them. Though there are individual differences (known as individual social comparison orientations) in the degree to which one is likely to engage in social comparisons. Also, the social comparison processes of assimilation and contrast can be manipulated and their effects will depend on the way and what type of social information is provided.
Social comparison research largely adopted experimental and observational designs, while exploring contextual effects. In our first volume, the special issue collection of articles included clinical, education and learning, behavior change, sport, mental health, and well-being, economics, cultural and sociological, and organizational settings. However, the continued advances in social comparison research in the sense of application and translation, the processes and their effects, and the new technology that enhances social comparisons and new applications of social comparison theory suggest the need to present a new collection to reflect these developments.
In line with Gerber et al (2018)’s meta-analysis, there are two streams of social comparison research: selection and reaction. The former is focused on the choice of a comparison target while the latter examines the effects of comparisons for self-evaluations. In this Research Topic, we aim to bring researchers from both streams in order to overlook theoretical as well as practical issues concerning social comparisons.
This Research Topic will address the backdrop of the previous studies, using different theoretical perspectives (e.g., downward comparison theory, construal theory, upward social comparisons, the selective accessibility model, target immediacy, self-evaluation maintenance model) and focus on the social cognitive processes, especially by outlining innovative methods to pursue this goal. New perspectives in application to clinical, mental health, and well-being are welcome.
Selected manuscripts will include theoretical and empirical research exploring social cognition and decision-making. Both laboratory-based experimental studies and experimental/intervention studies in applied settings and cross-cultural research are welcome, displaying recent and ongoing advances in social cognitive processes pertaining to social comparisons. Manuscripts may report original empirical studies as well as conceptual studies that can inform the innovative methods and frameworks to support the works of practitioners and researchers.
In this Research Topic, we aim to bring together researchers to initiate the examination of the role played by social comparison processes and their effects on performance and well-being under theoretical and cultural/applied perspectives.
Keywords: Social comparisons, Perception of competence, achievement, goal, well-being, performance, Selection and Reaction in Social Comparison
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.