Learners' habitual social comparisons can hinder effective learning partner choice

Devin G. Ray, Josephine Neugebauer, Kai Sassenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Students’ achievement heavily depends on who they learn with and from in school. We investigate how the habitual tendency to compare and strategic social comparison motivation influence who students seek to learn with. Specifically, we propose that a predisposition to habitual social comparison (i.e., high Social Comparison Orientation) overrides learners’ strategic social comparison motivation. In two studies, we measured students’ social comparison orientation and strategic social comparison motivation in the context of a coming cooperative learning task. We then assessed the influence of habitual tendencies and strategic social comparison motivation on students’ choice of learning partner for an upcoming learning task. Across both studies, we found that only participants who were not predisposed to habitual social comparison benefited from strategic social comparison motivation. This finding joins a growing body of work documenting the importance and impact of habitual social comparison in the context of knowledge exchange between peers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Early online date19 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

We thank the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung for the financial support of this research under the Eliteprogramme for Postdocs, Grant AZ Baden-Wurttemberg Stiftung 1.16101.08.


  • Learning partner choice
  • social comparison
  • motivation
  • motives for social comparison
  • social comparison orientation


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