The impact of local comparison feedback on test performance related evaluations
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It has previously been shown that local comparison – the comparison within a small group of individuals – affects people’s self-evaluations more than general – or objective comparison (overall ranking, etc) (Zell & Alicke, 2009, 2010). In this paper, I was investigating whether the dominance of local comparisons emerges in people’s self-evaluations regarding performance, satisfaction with the performance, and in Weiner’s attribution theory’s (1985, 2010) central categories: ability, test-difficulty, effort, and luck. In total, 126 students participated in the study; however, 114 persons’ data was used in subsequent analyses. Participants took a mental abilities test and received bogus feedback regarding their performance. After receiving the feedback, participants evaluated their performance, their satisfaction with the performance, their mental abilities, test-difficulty, their effort and the role of luck in their performance. A 2 x 2 rank-based analysis of covariances controlled for test score was conducted to analyze the effect of local comparison on the participants’ evaluations. Results showed that local comparisons affected the evaluations of performance and the satisfaction with the performance. In the discussion section the meaning of the results, their theoretical and practical implications, the limitations of the study, and ideas for further research were discussed.