Gendered Influence of Downward Social Comparisons on Current and Possible Selves
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Because men and women differ with regard to independent and interdependent self‐construals, we propose that downward comparisons are more likely to lower women's achievement‐related self‐evaluations compared to men's. We also hypothesize that gendered self‐schemas provide men with advantages in the processing of self‐related dispositional information and women with advantages in the processing of self‐related social‐contextual information. To the extent that a downward social comparison presents a potential threat to the self, men and women differ in how effectively they can fend off the implications of different types of comparisons. Results from three experiments (total N = 393) support these hypotheses, suggesting that gendered responses to downward comparison are at least in part driven by a culturally normative focus on dispositional information prevalent in the West.