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How Dissimilar Others May Still Resemble the Self: Assimilation and Contrast after Social Comparison

Michael Häfner
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Vol. 14, No. 1/2 (2004), pp. 187-196
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1480386
Page Count: 10
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How Dissimilar Others May Still Resemble the Self: Assimilation and Contrast after Social Comparison
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Abstract

This research addressed the determinants of self-evaluative assimilation and contrast after comparison to highly attractive models. Experiment 1 showed that the manipulation of the headlines in advertising campaigns sufficed to influence the direction of spontaneous comparisons to idealized models for both women and men. Experiment 2 replicated these findings in a context in which participants were explicitly asked to compare themselves to the depicted models. The results suggest that spontaneous comparison processes, even to high standards, may lead to either assimilation or contrast as a function of initially perceived similarities. Theoretical implications as well as implications for perceivers are discussed.

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