Other better versus self better in baboons: an evolutionary approach of social comparison


  • Dumas Florence
  • Fagot Joël
  • Davranche Karen
  • Claidière Nicolas


  • Evolution
  • Cognition
  • Behaviour
  • Social comparison
  • Non-human
  • Primates
  • Baboons
  • Facilitation
  • Social

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Comparing oneself with others is an important characteristic of human social life, but the link between human and non-human forms of social comparison remains largely unknown. The present study used a computerized task presented in a social context to explore psychological mechanisms supporting social comparison in baboons and compare major findings with those usually observed in humans. We found that the effects of social comparison on subject's performance were guided both by similarity (same versus different sex) and by task complexity. Comparing oneself with a better-off other (upward comparison) increased performance when the other was similar rather than dissimilar, and a reverse effect was obtained when the self was better (downward comparison). Furthermore, when the other was similar, upward comparison led to a better performance than downward comparison. Interestingly, the beneficial effect of upward comparison on baboons' performance was only observed during simple task. Our results support the hypothesis of shared social comparison mechanisms in human and non-human primates.

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