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A Sense of Scarcity Enhances the Above-Average Effect in Social Comparison
  • Xiaoyan Wang,
  • Lan Jiao
Xiaoyan Wang
Sichuan Normal University
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Lan Jiao
Ningbo University College of Teacher Education

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Scarcity refers to a state in which an individual’s resources do not satisfy his/her needs. A sense of scarcity evokes negative emotions. A fundamental strategy for coping with this negative threat is for people to emphasize the desirability of their personal traits. In this study, two behavioral experiments were conducted to examine whether and how a sense of scarcity affects one’s self-evaluation. Participants were assigned randomly to the high or low scarcity group. Financial status (experiment 1) and the amount of assistance rendered to an individual during a riddle guessing task (experiment 2) were manipulated to induce a high or low sense of scarcity. Then, the participants were asked to make trait judgments of themselves compared with their average peers. The results showed that people with a high sense of scarcity judged their personality to be more desirable than those with low sense of scarcity. The results of this study suggest that a sense of scarcity enhances an individual’s above-average effect in social comparison.