The role of social comparison in choice shifts

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Abstract

Tested social comparison predictions regarding influence processes related to risk taking in groups. It was predicted that a more complete information exchange condition would produce a shift toward risk of greater magnitude than a traditional information exchange condition. Two replications using 137 college students confirmed the prediction. Shifts toward risk were as likely to occur in groups where Ss exchanged information about their positions on the Choice Dilemma Questionnaire (CDQ) and information about their self-ratings of ability as in ordinary group discussions of the CDQ items. Ss in groups where only information about CDQ positions was exchanged showed far fewer shifts to risk. Findings are discussed in terms of a social comparison analysis of the social influence processes involved in risky shifts, which assumes that comparison processes can be engaged fully only when comparability is established by knowledge of other group members' standing on traits thought to be related to risk taking. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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