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An Integrative Model of Entertainment-Education Processes and Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  EE theory, 13 The question is then, other than cultural similarity, what determines with whom we identify? Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory suggests that people are motivated both to evaluate and to improve their own opinions, abilities, and looks. In the absence of an objective comparison, they will compare themselves to a “social” other. When possible, these social comparisons will be made with similar others (Martin & Kennedy, 1994; Wood, 1989). While we tend to identify most with characters that are similar to ourselves, we might also identify with the emotions of a character at some level without having experienced similar situations (Harris, 1989). Possible motivations for comparing oneself to others are: self-evaluation, self- enhancement, and self-improvement (Wood, 1989). The goal of self-evaluation is to determine an accurate view of oneself in the world. This is accomplished by evaluating one’s value, worth, or the appropriateness of one’s abilities, opinions, and personal traits (Martin & Kennedy, 1994). The goal of self-enhancement is not an accurate evaluation of self, but rather one that will portray the self in a positive light (Wood, 1989). Finally, when the motive is self-improvement, the individual attempts to determine ‘whether to’ and learn ‘how to’ improve a particular a particular attribute (Martin & Kennedy, 1994). The individual can be selective in the comparison process depending on which motive is driving the comparison. An upward comparison occurs when one measures his/herself against someone who s/he considers on a higher level then s/he are currently with respect to the comparison factor (Wood, 1989). A downward comparison occurs when one compares oneself to someone they consider below his/her current position with respect to the comparison factor (Wood, 1989). Finally, a similar comparison is made when the object of comparison is at the same level or share similar characteristics with respect to the comparison factor (Martin & Kennedy, 1994).

Authors: Wilkin, Holley. and Fernandes, Sangeeta.
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background image
EE theory,
13
The question is then, other than cultural similarity, what determines with whom we
identify? Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory suggests that people are motivated both to
evaluate and to improve their own opinions, abilities, and looks. In the absence of an objective
comparison, they will compare themselves to a “social” other. When possible, these social
comparisons will be made with similar others (Martin & Kennedy, 1994; Wood, 1989). While
we tend to identify most with characters that are similar to ourselves, we might also identify with
the emotions of a character at some level without having experienced similar situations (Harris,
1989). Possible motivations for comparing oneself to others are: self-evaluation, self-
enhancement, and self-improvement (Wood, 1989). The goal of self-evaluation is to determine
an accurate view of oneself in the world. This is accomplished by evaluating one’s value, worth,
or the appropriateness of one’s abilities, opinions, and personal traits (Martin & Kennedy, 1994).
The goal of self-enhancement is not an accurate evaluation of self, but rather one that will
portray the self in a positive light (Wood, 1989). Finally, when the motive is self-improvement,
the individual attempts to determine ‘whether to’ and learn ‘how to’ improve a particular a
particular attribute (Martin & Kennedy, 1994).
The individual can be selective in the comparison process depending on which motive is
driving the comparison. An upward comparison occurs when one measures his/herself against
someone who s/he considers on a higher level then s/he are currently with respect to the
comparison factor (Wood, 1989). A downward comparison occurs when one compares oneself
to someone they consider below his/her current position with respect to the comparison factor
(Wood, 1989). Finally, a similar comparison is made when the object of comparison is at the
same level or share similar characteristics with respect to the comparison factor (Martin &
Kennedy, 1994).


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