Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Social comparison regarding school work

Hi all, the topic I chose for my second blog is about self enhancement by social comparison. I chose this topic because I think I frequently engage in it regarding school work. That is, I feel better about a grade I got when I compare myself to someone who got a grade less than mine, and as mean as it is it makes me feel better about the grade. Unfortunately I do the opposite of this much more. Often I will get a grade that I am really happy with but as soon as I hear of others grades that were better than mine, I automatically feel that my grade wasn’t that great. I realised just how much I was doing this last semester and I came to the conclusion that everyone has different circumstances and the only person I should be comparing myself to, is me! So if I look back at the work I produced in first year then I the grades I am getting now and the work I am producing now I see that I am definitely improving. This is good in theory, however I still find myself engaging in social comparisons. I was just wondering if anyone else finds they do this? Some people I have talked to say they don’t so I thought I would see where everyone else is at.
Thanks rach.

7 comments:

Jessica said...

Hi Rachel,

This is such an interesting topic, as I think a lot of people can relate to this. I think comparing the grades of others to one's own grades is very common at university. I think most uni students, would have at some point during their studies, compared themselves to someone who received a lower grade than them in an effort to boost their self-esteem and self-efficacy. I know I have in the past. Similar to yourself, I also compare myself to other students who achieve better results than myself. I think I do this because if I see someone do better, I become more sensitive to where my work needs improvement and why I did not achieve as high as the other person. That is, I begin to focus on my limitations. Social comparison happens all the time, and I find it occurs quite automatically. Very interseting topic, good luck with your second blog :)

Rebecca said...

I think it can be a really good thing as it means we are constantly striving to improve. If you keep moving the goal posts you are always getting a little better because you always need to work a little harder. I know I do it in every aspect of my life from the work place to the purchase of possessions! Some could say that it is a tiring way to live but I find it is a great motivator. Rather than focussing on my limitations and feeling bad I just try harder. We learned about this in organisational behaviour as one of the motivational theories and I obviously could really relate to it :-)

Clare said...

Hey Rach,
I too engage in social comparisons on a regular basis. I always compare my Uni grades with the average grade achieved. It does however seem to have a greater impact on me when I compare myself to students who do just a bit better than I do… I do feel good when I find out I did better on say an exam than some other students, but finding out my grade was lower than other students makes me feel even worse than I feel good about having a better grade, however as Rebecca commented, it does also make me strive to improve. Perhaps this stronger feeling of sadness by comparing myself to people who do better than I do supports the text books theme of bad is stronger than good. I now try (as you stated) to compare me to me! It gives me a sense of pride when I out do myself because it shows I am learning.
Good luck with your blog!
Clare.

beck1411 said...

Hey rach,
I think that at times I also engage in this comparison which leads me at times to question my own ability and standard and i find myself wondering what other students did to get a better grade or what I did wrong etc..
I think that in a lot of ways it is that innate part of human nature to be competitive and want to be 'the best' and that by comparing yourself to others you see areas for improvement or areas that you excell in.
I found this article on the APA site that discusses social comparison as being innate
http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov04/comparison.html
Hope it is of some use
Good Luck
Beck xxx

Jacqui Hodge said...

Hey Rach,

I completely agree. I compare my self to others with out even realising I’m doing it. I don’t mean to do it in a negative way but whenever I get a grade that I am happy with and then find out people have done heaps better than I have then I tend to think “Oh maybe mine wasn’t so good then”. So that would cover the upward social comparison theory when I compare myself to someone who I believe has done better than me. But like Clare said above, this is often an incentive to improve and work harder for next time. I’m sure a lot of people also experience downward social comparison when they continuously compare themselves to people who are worse off than themselves as a way to make themselves feel better.

As my blog two topic focuses on social competence I have come across some research on social comparison as well. Basically I found that it is a process through which people come to know themselves through evaluating their own attitudes, abilities and beliefs in comparison with many other people.

As with university marks and feedback, I also think that people compare themselves to others in many everyday situations. I have a friend who constantly compares herself to others. She does this in a negative way though. Such as “that girl is so much thinner than I am”. A lot of the time I have to remind her of all the good things she possesses and tell her not to put herself down by negatively comparing herself to others. Who am I kidding though? This is easier said than done. I’m sure everyone has done this at least once.

Keep up the great work, your blog is looking super :-)
Jac

cananeoy said...

Thanks...

Canan Eoy
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