Have you seen the popular TV show in Britain, Googlebox? Googlebox has an interesting premise; you are watching people watching television. Why is this so intriguing? And what does it say about us?
We get to see how other people react to the same shows that we might watch. Are they a reflection of us? Or are they very different? What does this tell us about ourselves and our views of the world. What we are doing is something called social comparison. This is a process through which we are better able to understand ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. Most of the time we compare ourselves to those who are very similar. We look at their attitudes, abilities and their beliefs. We feel good about ourselves when we compare favourably.
The thing about Googlebox is that the cast most likely has someone like you. But if not, we will reflect on how well or how badly we have fared based on the good or bad comparison of those others. We will either have an upward comparison or a downward comparison. When we make an upward comparison we observe people who have it better than us when it comes to money, looks or other resources. When we make a downward social comparison, we observe people who apparently have it worse than we do. We often feel better about ourselves when we downward compare versus when we upward compare.
As you are looking at Googlebox keep these comparisons in mind. Who do you feel most connected to in the show and why?