Why Children Make Downward Social Comparisons


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Social comparison not only plays a role in the judgments that people make about themselves but also in the way that people behave. As you compare yourself to others, consider how both upward and downward social comparison might influence your self-belief, confidence, motivation, and attitude, and watch out for negative feelings that might emerge as a result of this process. Researchers have identified two types of social comparison: upward social comparison, where we look at people we feel are better off than we are in an attempt to become inspired and more hopeful, and downward social comparisons, where we look at people who we feel are worse off than we are, in an effort to feel better about ourselves and our situation. Upward social comparison suggest that individuals compare themselves to people who are “better” off than themselves.

For example, if someone wants to feel smart, they may upwardly compare themselves to the top student in the school, or downwardly remind themselves that they have better grades than a student who does not perform as well. Source: pexels.com. Downward comparisons are considered to. When we make comparisons, there are different types of comparisons that we may make, however we will focus on two that have been studied particularly in the area of self-esteem – upward and downward comparisons. Upward comparisons involve comparing ourselves to someone whom we view to be better than us in that particular domain.

According to Festinger, however, there are two types of social comparison: upward and downward. We make upward comparisons with people who we think are better than us, and downward comparisons. These comparisons can sometimes be healthy measures of development, such as a child reaching certain growth milestones at the same time as their peers. ASCD Customer Service.

Phone Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 1-800-933-ASCD (2723) Address 1703 North Beauregard St. Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Fosters sibling rivalry: When you compare, rather praise the other child to your child, your child may secretly start loathing his own sibling. This may lead him to behave aggressively, pick fights, tease and even hit each other.

Downward social comparison is a defensive tendency that is used as a means of self-evaluation. When a person looks to another individual or group that they consider to be worse off than themselves in order to feel better about their self or personal situation, they are. Why does engaging in downward comparison provide a boost to an individual’s self-esteem?

It reminds you that other people are not as good as you in a given domain. Which of the following are the criteria that are necessary for a person to engage in the process of social comparison?

List of related literature:

During social interaction, 5to 6-year-old children, the same age as the novices in the present study, are primarily oriented toward same-age peers as a source of social comparison, whereas older children and adults are more likely to select “upward” comparisons as a source for self-evaluation.

“Readings on the Development of Children” by Mary Gauvain, Michael Cole
from Readings on the Development of Children
by Mary Gauvain, Michael Cole
Worth Publishers, 2005

This was well illustrated by a study conducted by Dodge et al. (1982) which found that children who were well accepted by peers made more social approaches than other children – but only in the playground, not in the classroom.

“Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity” by Norah Frederickson
from Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity
by Norah Frederickson
McGraw-Hill Education, 2009

Based on these observations, it appears that toddlers differentiate among their peers, selecting some children as targets of their social exchanges and changing their patterns of social interactions on the basis of who their partners are.

“The Company They Keep: Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence” by William M. Bukowski, Andrew F. Newcomb, Willard W. Hartup
from The Company They Keep: Friendships in Childhood and Adolescence
by William M. Bukowski, Andrew F. Newcomb, Willard W. Hartup
Cambridge University Press, 1998

On the contrary, children actively influence their social surroundings and interact with them.

“Psychology for Educators” by Wilma Vialle, Pauline Lysaght, Irina Verenikina
from Psychology for Educators
by Wilma Vialle, Pauline Lysaght, Irina Verenikina
Thomson Learning, 2005

Only children tend to be socially independent, less oriented toward peer relations, more adultlike earlier, more anxious at times, and like an oldest child, often the focus of parents’ attention.

“Genograms: Assessment and Intervention” by Monica McGoldrick, Randy Gerson, Sylvia Shellenberger
from Genograms: Assessment and Intervention
by Monica McGoldrick, Randy Gerson, Sylvia Shellenberger
W.W. Norton, 1999

Lesseffective children have poor emotional regulation and situation knowledge, are less attentive to social cues, and are much more likely to engage their peers in aggressive or coercive cycles.

“Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning” by Marjorie Kostelnik, Kara Gregory, Anne Soderman, Alice Whiren
from Guiding Children’s Social Development and Learning
by Marjorie Kostelnik, Kara Gregory, et. al.
Cengage Learning, 2011

Children use social comparison with their peers as a way to evaluate themselves with increasing frequency in the early years of elementary school (Harter, 2012), and, once begun, this process never really stops.

“Social Development” by Ross D. Parke, Glenn I. Roisman, Amanda J. Rose
from Social Development
by Ross D. Parke, Glenn I. Roisman, Amanda J. Rose
Wiley, 2019

Perhaps extroverted children are better at mobilizing to meet social challenge.

“Handbook of Psychology, Developmental Psychology” by Donald K. Freedheim, Irving B. Weiner, Richard M. Lerner, John A. Schinka, M. Ann Easterbrooks, Wayne F. Velicer, Jayanthi Mistry, Alice F. Healy, Robert W. Proctor
from Handbook of Psychology, Developmental Psychology
by Donald K. Freedheim, Irving B. Weiner, et. al.
Wiley, 2003

Over time, middle­class children develop advantages because they may be more assertive and independent in school and work settings as a result of these early childrearing experiences.

“Encyclopedia of Human Relationships: Vol. 1-” by Harry T. Reis, Susan Sprecher
from Encyclopedia of Human Relationships: Vol. 1-
by Harry T. Reis, Susan Sprecher
SAGE Publications, 2009

As children feel more secure, they feel more adequate in coping with their own attitudes and feelings.

“Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship” by Garry L. Landreth
from Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship
by Garry L. Landreth
Brunner-Routledge, 2002

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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  • What a queen! Loved this talk! I’ve bene comparing myself to others and plunging into absolute miserable episodes…although, I had been unaware until recently. Comparison is acceptable to a degree, I feel, but not worth obsessing over. Anyway, peace and power to you!

  • this was a great talk. fear of missing out affects us all especially in the age of social media. I really like the solution of alignment with self.

  • Our generation is severely affected by FOMO, I hope others understand the importance of comparing themselves with themselves and not others! Love this one!!!<3

  • very useful.. thank you for saring.. only that English is not my mother tongue..  I would really appreciate a better sound quality..

  • I hope you enjoyed this short video and if there are other Mindset or Productivity concepts that you want me to review and explain then please let me know in the comments below.