Peer Influence Among College Students: the Perils and the Potentials
AbstractStudents' intellectual, social and personal development is highly influenced by peers during the college years. These changes can be understood in terms of social comparison theory, which outlines the consequences for group dynamics of people's need to evaluate their opinions and abilities. Discussion aimed toward opinion consensus and competition aimed toward improving ability levels promote the development of intellectual capacities and a range of other abilities. Discussion and competition also promote the definition and polarization of values. An expanded account of social comparison processes considers the further group consequences of the need for self-esteem. The distinction between informational and normative social influence underlines the importance of people's standing in groups for their self-concepts and self-esteem. Social identity theory expands these accounts to consider the implications of self-esteem needs for intergroup competition, discrimination and hostility. Leadership within groups is critical in countering the destructive consequences of tendencies toward fragmentation of larger groups into smaller homogeneous groups which think and act in extreme ways and which enact ingroup favoritism and outgroup discrimination.
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 Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education with number DP-51.
Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 1999
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
- I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephen Sheppard).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.