Intrapersonal and social comparison determinants of happiness: A range-frequency analysis
Smith, R. H., Diener, E., & Wedell, D. H. (1989). Intrapersonal and social comparison determinants of happiness: A range-frequency analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(3), 317-325.
Examined whether intrapersonal comparisons and social comparisons operate in similar ways to determine ratings of happiness. Events were varied to create positively and negatively skewed distributions. The events in each distribution were ascribed to either a single person or a group of people; Ss rated how happy they would feel if they experienced specific events within the distribution. Ratings for both intrapersonal and social comparisons were fit well by Parducci's (1984) range-frequency theory. Individual events received higher ratings when presented within the positively skewed context. Overall happiness, as measured by both the mean of the happiness ratings as well as direct ratings, was highest for the negatively skewed distributions. The effects of skewing were more pronounced for intrapersonal comparisons, but ratings were more closely defined by the range of experimental stimuli for social comparisons.
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