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Title: Sensitivity to Context Across Perceptual Tasks and in Social Comparisons
Authors: Kincade, Nicole
Advisors: Osherson, Daniel
Contributors: Turk-Browne, Nicholas
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: The present study explored individual differences in susceptibility to context in their low level perceptual processing and in their social environments. This study made three predictions. First, it hypothesized that individuals would be consistently susceptible or resistant to context across different perceptual illusory tasks. Second, it predicted that individuals would demonstrate consistent positional preferences in terms of social comparisons with peers across different aspects of their lives. Finally, it predicted that individuals’ susceptibility to context in the perceptual domain would correlate with their susceptibility to situational context in social comparisons. Individuals demonstrated traces of a consistent susceptibility to context within the perceptual tasks and within their social comparisons, but the mean correlations exploring all the hypotheses were not significant. These results suggest that there is not a type of perceptual person who will demonstrate a consistent susceptibility or resistance to context across a number of different perceptual tasks. Similarly, there is not a type of person who will demonstrate a consistent susceptibility or resistance to situational context in social comparisons across different aspects of his or her life. Finally, there is not trait inherent in people that correspond to their sensitivity to context in low level perceptual processing and to situational context in their social comparisons. Despite the insignificant findings in terms of the main hypotheses of the study, the results indicated that in general, participants were overwhelmingly concerned with relative position compared to peers. Furthermore, those that indicated the highest satisfaction with relative position compared to peers were also more likely to have their everyday subjective experiences negatively impacted by others. These findings suggest that those who define themselves excessively via comparisons with peers put themselves in a disadvantageous position in terms of subjective well-being.
Extent: 141 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2017

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