Devaluation versus enhancement of attractive alternatives: a critical test using the calibration paradigm.
The calibration paradigm was used to test the competing hypotheses that (a) commitment motivates unduly negative evaluations of attractive alternatives (devaluation) versus (b) low commitment motivates exaggerated positive evaluations of attractive alternatives (enhancement). Single participants and dating participants low and high in relationship commitment were presented with an attractive, available person of the opposite sex and asked to judge the person's romantic appeal from their own perspective or from the perspective of their friends. Contrary to predictions based on the enhancement hypothesis, single and low-commitment participants did not provide higher ratings from their own perspective. In support of devaluation and calibration hypotheses, committed participants did provide lower ratings from their own perspective. Singles did not rate the target less attractive in a third condition in which the target was unavailable. However, dating participants, regardless of commitment level, rated the unavailable alternative negatively, consistent with social comparison processes and interdependence theory.
Lydon, JE; Fitzsimons, GM; Naidoo, L
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