Subproject F

Alain Quiamzade, University of Geneva and Distance Learning University of Switzerland
& Gabriel Mugny, University of Geneva, Social Influence Research Group

Cultural diversity and native students’ performance boost: Competence threat in upward ingroup and downward outgroup social comparisons

This project investigates the conditions under which the presence or absence of competence threat respectively impairs and facilitates performance of lower achieving native students. It considers that those who are low achievers in a specific achievement domain are impaired by upward social comparison with ingroup members who are more competent in this domain, i.e., an unfavorable struggle for competence that induces a competence threat. However, they may benefit from an intergroup comparison with members of a devaluated outgroup (as for instance in the case of low-status native students comparing with immigrant students) because of their membership to a socially superior group. In this case, the downward social comparison would deflect the competence threat from which they suffer in the ingroup. Within the framework of the Sinergia project, this subproject contributes to the test of the hypothesis that competence threat reduces performance, with a special attention to identity stakes linked to social comparison. It proposes a conceptualization of the intra-individual mechanisms countering such a deleterious effect (deflection of competence threat) that articulate interpersonal dynamics within a group with intergroup relationships.

The full project can be obtained by contacting
Alain Quiamzade
or Gabriel Mugny.


Marie-Pierre Fayant