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A comparison process that is distinct from but related to social and temporal comparisons is introduced – dimensional comparison. Using an internal frame of reference, dimensional comparison entails a single individual or group comparing his or her ability in a target domain with his or her ability in a standard domain (e.g., “How good am I in math compared to English?”). Dimensional comparisons usually reduce self-concept in the worse-off domain and increase self-concept in the better-off domain. This article presents the basic principles of dimensional comparison in 10 hypotheses, covering their antecedents and their consequences for self-concept, motivation, and emotion, as indicated by introspective, path-analytic, and experimental studies.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Book Chapter

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