Social comparison theory, initially proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954, centers on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations. The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.
Following the initial theory, research began to focus on social comparison as a way of self-enhancement, introducing the concepts of downward and upward comparisons and expanding the motivations of social comparisons.[4
Social psychology utilizes a wide range of specific theories for various kinds of social and cognitive phenomena. Here is a sampling of some of the more influential theories that can be found in this branch of psychology.
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Attribution theory – is concerned with the ways in which people explain (or attribute) the behaviour of others. The theory divides the way people attribute causes to events into two types. External or “situational” attributions assign causality to an outside factor, such as the weather. Internal or “dispositional” attributions assign causality to factors within the person, such as ability or personality.
Cognitive dissonance – was originally based on the concept of cognitive consistency, but is now more related to self-concept theory. When people do something that violates their view of themselves, this causes an uncomfortable state of dissonance that motivates a change in either attitudes or behaviour (Festinger, 1957).
Drive theory – posits that the presence of an audience causes arousal which creates dominant or typical responses in the context of the situation.
Elaboration likelihood model – maintains that information processing, often in the case of a persuasion attempt can be divided into two separate processes based on the “likelihood of cognitive elaborations,” that is, whether people think critically about the content of a message, or respond to superficial aspects of the message and other immediate cues.
Motivation crowding theory – suggests that extrinsic motivators such as monetary incentives or punishments can undermine (or, under different conditions, strengthen) intrinsic motivation.
Observational learning (social learning) – suggests that behaviour can be acquired by observation and imitation of others, unlike traditional learning theories which require reinforcement or punishment for learning to occur.
Positioning theory – focuses on the moral orders that occur in conversations as a result of the interplay between the speech-acts uttered, the positions taken and the developing story-line.
Schemata theory – focuses on “schemas” which are cognitive structures that organize knowledge and guide information processing. They take the form of generalized beliefs that can operate automatically and lead to biases in perception and memory.
Self-perception theory – emphasizes that we observe ourselves in the same manner that we observe others, and draw conclusions about our likes and dislikes. Extrinsic self perceptions can lead to the over-justification effect.
Self-verification theory – focuses on people’s desire to be known and understood by others. The key assumption is that once people develop firmly held beliefs about themselves, they come to prefer that others see them as they see themselves.
Social comparison theory – suggests that humans gain information about themselves, and make inferences that are relevant to self-esteem, by comparison to relevant others.
Social exchange theory – is an economic social theory that assumes human relationships are based on rational choice and cost-benefit analyses. If one partner’s costs begin to outweigh his or her benefits, that person may leave the relationship, especially if there are good alternatives available.
Social identity theory – was developed by Henri Tajfel and examines how categorizing people (including oneself) into ingroups or outgroups affects perceptions, attitudes, and behavior.
Social penetration theory – proposes that, as relationships develop, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow, non-intimate levels to deeper, more intimate ones. The theory was formulated by psychologists Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor in 1973 to provide an understanding of the closeness between two individuals.
Socioemotional selectivity theory – posits that as people age and their perceived time left in life decreases, they shift from focusing on information seeking goals to focusing on emotional goals.
System justification theory – proposes that people have a motivation to defend and bolster the status quo, in order to continue believing that their social, political, and economic systems are legitimate and just.
Terror management theory – suggests that human mortality causes existential dread and terror, and that much of human behavior exists as a buffer against this dread (e.g., self-esteem and worldviews).
Triangular theory of love – by Sternberg, characterizes love in an interpersonal relationship on three different scales: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be categorized by different combinations of these three elements
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Prepare a paper of 1,250-1,500 words that compares and contrasts the theories of Jung, Adler, Horney, and Erikson with the theory of Freud.
Compare and contrast their theoretical perspective, major concepts, and approach to therapy.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Refer to the directions in the Student Success Center. Only Word documents can be submitted to Turnitin.
ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CLASS
Discussion Questions (DQ)
Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.
Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
Participation posts do not require a scholarly source/citation (unless you cite someone else’s work).
Part of your weekly participation includes viewing the weekly announcement and attesting to watching it in the comments. These announcements are made to ensure you understand everything that is due during the week.
APA Format and Writing Quality
Familiarize yourself with APA format and practice using it correctly. It is used for most writing assignments for your degree. Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for APA paper templates, citation examples, tips, etc. Points will be deducted for poor use of APA format or absence of APA format (if required).
Cite all sources of information! When in doubt, cite the source. Paraphrasing also requires a citation.
I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.
Use of Direct Quotes
I discourage overutilization of direct quotes in DQs and assignments at the Masters’ level and deduct points accordingly.
As Masters’ level students, it is important that you be able to critically analyze and interpret information from journal articles and other resources. Simply restating someone else’s words does not demonstrate an understanding of the content or critical analysis of the content.
It is best to paraphrase content and cite your source.
For assignments that need to be submitted to LopesWrite, please be sure you have received your report and Similarity Index (SI) percentage BEFORE you do a “final submit” to me.
Once you have received your report, please review it. This report will show you grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that can easily be fixed. Take the extra few minutes to review instead of getting counted off for these mistakes.
Review your similarities. Did you forget to cite something? Did you not paraphrase well enough? Is your paper made up of someone else’s thoughts more than your own?
Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for tips on improving your paper and SI score.
The university’s policy on late assignments is 10% penalty PER DAY LATE. This also applies to late DQ replies.
Please communicate with me if you anticipate having to submit an assignment late. I am happy to be flexible, with advance notice. We may be able to work out an extension based on extenuating circumstances.
If you do not communicate with me before submitting an assignment late, the GCU late policy will be in effect.
I do not accept assignments that are two or more weeks late unless we have worked out an extension.
As per policy, no assignments are accepted after the last day of class. Any assignment submitted after midnight on the last day of class will not be accepted for grading.
Communication is so very important. There are multiple ways to communicate with me:
Questions to Instructor Forum: This is a great place to ask course content or assignment questions. If you have a question, there is a good chance one of your peers does as well. This is a public forum for the class.
Individual Forum: This is a private forum to ask me questions or send me messages. This will be checked at least once every 24 hours.