Social Comparison, Aspirations and Priming: When Fiction is as Powerful as Fact
AbstractThis study uses a novel application of priming to provide experimental evidence that aspirations and social comparisons may be influenced by non factual sources. A textual narrative eliciting social comparison is shown to dramatically alter material aspirations. This is despite the narrative not presenting any new information, relying instead on participants' existing knowledge. However the effect of the priming rapidly dissipates when attention is redirected to unrelated tasks. These findings build on literature examining the influence of media, social comparison and aspirations on well-being. The findings build support for the claim that media exposure may distort perceptions of status with implications for satisfaction, education attainment and risk preferences. It also demonstrates that at least in the short run, preferences in general and aspirations in particular are highly suggestible.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Sydney, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-02.
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price & Mark Wooden, 2009. "Life satisfaction and the economic and social characteristics of neighbourhoods," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 421-443, April.
- Daniel Zizzo, 2010. "Experimenter demand effects in economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 75-98, March.
- Carmit Segal, 2006. "Motivation, test scores and economic success," Economics Working Papers 1124, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
- Alois Stutzer, .
"The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness,"
IEW - Working Papers
124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
- L. J. Shrum & James E. Burroughs & Aric Rindfleisch, 2005. "Television's Cultivation of Material Values," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 473-479, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vanessa Holcombe).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.