Dimensional Comparison Theory: Extension to the 'Big Two', agency and communion

Third party funded individual grant


Project Details

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Andrea Abele-Brehm


Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Sozialpsychologie mit Schwerpunkt Gender und Diversity

Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
Start date: 01/12/2014


Research Fields

Soziale Kognition: Agency and Communion
Lehrstuhl für Sozialpsychologie mit Schwerpunkt Gender und Diversity


Abstract (technical / expert description):


Following from the newly emerging Dimensional Comparison Theory (DCT, Möller & Marsh, 2013), dimensional comparisons are internal comparisons of one`s own abilities in different domains: empirical studies based on the Internal/External-frame-of-reference model (I/E model, Marsh, 1986) have revealed the negative effects of, e.g., a math grade on a students` verbal self-concept (and v.v.), as a consequence of dimensional comparisons. Students who receive better feedback in math than in German will increase their math self-concept and decrease their verbal self-concept (while controlling for the corresponding achievement). DCT addresses the antecedents and consequences of dimensional comparisons for self-concept, motivation, and emotion, in ten hypotheses, and posits that dimensional comparisons also play a role in the formation of self-perceptions other than academic, such as personality characteristics.The Big Two of agency (competence) and communion (warmth; Paulhus & Trappnell, 2008; Abele & Wojciszke, 2014) are ideal candidates for an extension of the DCT, since they are centrally important to people`s self-perception, and because both dimensions are independent of each other in self-perception (Abele, 2003), as are math and verbal self-concepts. Transferring the theoretical assumptions and the research designs of the DCT and the I/E model to research on the Big Two of agency and communion, will extend both approaches, by overcoming their specific limitations. On the one hand, the I/E model can be extended by proving the idea of the juxtaposition of dimensional and social comparisons in central aspects of fundamental dimensions of social judgment such as agency and communion. On the other hand, theory and research on agency and communion are extended by integrating social and, in particular, barely-considered dimensional comparison processes, as possible mechanisms establishing the interrelations between agentic and communal self-descriptions. To answer our research questions the transferability of the dimensional comparison effect to the Big Two will be proved by one longitudinal study, four experimental studies, and one introspective study.


External Partners

Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Last updated on 2018-22-11 at 18:41