Same Meaning but Different Feelings: Different Expressions Influence Satisfaction in Social Comparison

[Speaker] Song, Yi:1
[Co-author] Xie, Xiaofei:1, Zhang, Hui:1
1:Department of Psychology and Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University (China (People's Republic of China))

The same social comparison information could be expressed in different ways. We assume that tiny differences in the expressions (e.g., "I am better than you" vs. "He is worse than me") could affect individual's satisfaction after knowing the comparison result. Also, the study aimed to explore whether the impact is due to direction of comparison (i.e., different subjects and referents) or different framings (i.e., "better" and "worse"). Four studies indicated that different expressions of the same social comparison information could influence individuals' satisfaction. Specifically, in upward comparison, the expression "I am worse than him" makes people feel less satisfied than the expression "He is better than me". However in downward comparison, people had higher satisfaction with the expression "I am better than him" than with the expression "He is worse than me". The motivation of information processing mediates the relationship between different expressions and satisfaction.
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