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What Matters When? Social and Dimensional Comparisons in the Context of University Major Choice

Tue, April 21, 8:15 to 10:15am, Virtual Room


We investigated the role of social and dimensional comparisons in the context of academic self-concepts and interest in high school as well as university major choice. We used two longitudinal German datasets assessing participants at the end of high school and when students already enrolled at university. Findings of multilevel analyses indicated that students used social comparisons (big-fish-little-pond effect) and dimensional comparisons to form their math self-concept and math interest in school. For university major choice, dimensional comparisons were more important. When students were about to choose a math intensive major at university, they were more likely to compare their math ability with their ability in other domains than to compare their math ability with the ability of their peers.