Home alone yet optimistic: social identity management amidst comparative pessimism

Corey L. Guenther, Yiyue Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In three studies (N = 553) we found that despite reporting that others enjoy a more active social life than they do, participants believed that they possessed more social traits than their peers (Study 1), that their level of social activity exceeds the necessary standards for living a satisfying social life (Study 2), and that their social lives would improve significantly in the future (Study 3). Additionally, people were not comparatively pessimistic about the number of close friends they have (Studies 1 and 3), and their pessimism about their social engagement was associated with lowered perceived importance of the social activities in question (Study 3). Taken together, these findings suggest that people’s outlook on their social lives is not as grim as others have suggested, but rather, self-enhancing beliefs reside comfortably alongside individuals’ acknowledgments of their social deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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