Clarifying the role of social comparison in the big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE): an integrative study

Pascal Huguet , F. Dumas , H. Marsh , Isabelle Régner , Ladd Wheeler , J. Suls , M. Seaton , John Nezlek


It has been speculated that the big-fish-little-pond effect (BFLPE; the negative impact of highly selective academic settings on academic self-concept) is a consequence of invidious social comparisons experienced in higher ability schools. However, the direct role of such comparisons for the BFLPE has not heretofore been documented. The present study comprises the first evidence that the BFLPE (a) is eliminated after controlling for students' invidious comparisons with their class and (b) coexists with the assimilative and contrastive effects of upward social comparison choices on academic self-concept. These results increase understanding of the BFLPE and offer support for integrative approaches of social comparison (selective accessibility and interpretation comparison models) in a natural setting. They also lend support for the distinction between forced and deliberate social comparisons and the usefulness of distinguishing between absolute and relative comparison-level choice in self-assessment.
Author Pascal Huguet
Pascal Huguet,,
, F. Dumas
F. Dumas,,
, H. Marsh
H. Marsh,,
, Isabelle Régner
Isabelle Régner,,
, Ladd Wheeler
Ladd Wheeler,,
, J. Suls
J. Suls,,
, M. Seaton
M. Seaton,,
, John Nezlek (Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu)
John Nezlek,,
- Wydział Zamiejscowy w Poznaniu
Journal seriesJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, ISSN 0022-3514, (A 45 pkt)
Issue year2009
Publication size in sheets0.7
ASJC Classification3312 Sociology and Political Science; 3207 Social Psychology
Languageen angielski
Not used for evaluationyes
Score (nominal)0
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2009 = 3.548; WoS Impact Factor: 2009 = 4.732 (2) - 2009=7.48 (5)
Citation count*237 (2021-04-12)
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