When you and I are "we," you are not threatening: The role of self-expansion in social comparison

Wendi L. Gardner*, Laura Hochschild, Shira Gabriel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


Many theories of self-evaluation emphasize the power of social comparison. Simply put, an individual is thought to gain esteem whenever she or he outperforms others and to lose esteem when he or she is outperformed. The current research explored interdependent self-construal as a moderator of these effects. Two studies used a priming task to manipulate the level of self-construal and investigate effects of social comparison in dyadic (Study 1) and group situations (Study 2). Both studies demonstrated that when the target for comparison is construed as part of the self, his or her successes become cause for celebration rather than costs to esteem. Additionally, gender differences in chronic relational and collective self-construals moderated the patterns of social comparison in a form similar to that of priming relational and collective self-construals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-251
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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