Comparative optimism, so useful

Abstract : Comparative Optimism results from a comparison between the self and another person and consists of a self-serving judgment about the future. Most recent studies show that targets who exhibit a comparative optimistic outlook are judged positively but are also rated as more useful than desirable. In this paper, three experiments examined the social utility and desirability of comparative optimism. They also addressed whether this social acceptance is dependent on the context determined by the predominance of the comparative optimistic response. Results showed that displaying more comparative optimism is less socially accepted on the social desirability than on the social utility dimension. Moreover, the type of context influenced the judgment on the social desirability dimension more than on the social utility dimension. Specifically, a target who expresses strong comparative optimism is generally judged to be useful rather than desirable, except when the target is different from the group of other targets presented.
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Isabelle Milhabet, Emmanuelle Lebarbenchon, Guylaine Molina, Laurent Cambon, Dirk D. Steiner. Comparative optimism, so useful. Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale = International review of social psychology, Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 2012, 25 (2), pp.5-40. ⟨hal-01421045⟩

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