Document Type


Publication Date


Course Name

PY331L - Social Psychology Research and Design Lab


Adam Levy


Psychology; College of Arts & Sciences


Previous research has provided evidence that self-esteem decreases during an upward social comparison. The current study explored the possibility of a personality dimension on this phenomenon. The objective of the experiment was to test if there was an interaction between the scenario of social comparison and competitiveness, and how these factors influenced levels of self-esteem. 58 participants played a game in which they could choose if they wanted to compete or cooperate, and then they took a self-esteem survey to measure their reaction to the success, mediocrity, or failure of a classmate. We predicted that a competitive person would become more discouraged and have lower self-esteem in reaction to a classmate’s success. A cooperative person, on the other hand, would have lower self-esteem upon learning about the failure of a classmate, and would have comparatively higher self-esteem if they had heard that their classmate was successful. Although the results of the study trended in the direction of our hypothesis, the results were not statistically significant. However, there was evidence supporting that competitive people have higher self-esteem than cooperative people, regardless of the news that they received about the academic performance of their classmate.


This research was selected to be presented at the 2015 National Collegiate Honors Council annual conference in Chicago, IL.

The session description for the presentation can be found on page 117 of the event program: