Date of Thesis

5-9-2016

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kim Daubman

Abstract

The current study explored the influence of admiration on the social comparison process. One hundred and eleven undergraduates from Bucknell University completed an online study asking them to write about a close other that they either admired or did not admire. Participants were randomly assigned to ego-relevant or non-ego-relevant conditions, and asked to imagine the close other they chose had outperformed them on either an ego-relevant or non-ego-relevant task. Finally, participants completed scales measuring willingness to celebrate the success of the close other, motivation to self-improve, and self-esteem. It was hypothesized that admiration would neutralize the negative effects of being outperformed on an ego-relevant dimension by increasing the individual's willingness to celebrate the success of a close other and by bolstering self-esteem. In addition, it was hypothesized participants would express general motivation to self-improve when they admired the individual or the task was ego-relevant. Data analysis provided some support for the hypothesis that admiration increases willingness to celebrate the successes of the close other on an ego-relevant dimension. It was also found that those who admired someone else were more likely to be willing to celebrate their success and were more motivated to self-improve than those who did not admire the individual. Finally, analyses revealed that those who were outperformed on an ego-relevant dimension were more motivated to self-improve than those outperformed on a non-ego-relevant dimension. These results indicate that both admiration and ego-relevance influence the social comparison process separately, and these processes intersect on willingness to celebrate the success of a close other.

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