What is it called when a person consciously or unconsciously looks for similarities and differences in other people's reasoning, behavior, actions or past events and compares them with his/her own traits? I.e., Noticing them, with or without reacting, relating or comparing yourself with others.

  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps see social comparison theory $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Nov 27 '13 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ @JeromyAnglim I think my answer may not be so good, what do you think? $\endgroup$ – user10932 Nov 28 '13 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @JeromyAnglim I think I used the word "compare" too loosely in the first sentence. The focus of the question should be the looking and noticing the similarities, not the comparison or the conclusions that may be made as a consequence. $\endgroup$ – Lord of Life Nov 28 '13 at 10:45

Cognitive Bias

A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable facts.

One being:

Social comparison bias can be defined as having feelings of dislike and competitiveness with someone that is seen physically, or mentally better than yourself.

There are other types of bias that would be appropriate to cover what you have asked in your question, I suggest having a look. For a list of cognitive biases.

This question What are the possible causes of pettiness? and answer touches upon some of the reasons people compare themselves to others.

  • $\begingroup$ I suggest you go through these thoroughly and let me know if it answers your question $\endgroup$ – user10932 Nov 27 '13 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer emphasises bias. I think that is one way of viewing the OP's question. However, I interpreted the question as a little more neutral regarding the purpose of the comparison. For example, one purpose could be for self-esteem issues, competitiveness. However, equally a person might just want to compare themselves to others as a means of understanding themselves or others in general. Or it could just be an interpretative lens. $\endgroup$ – Jeromy Anglim Nov 28 '13 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ @JeromyAnglim yes, I was unsure when I gave this answer, but I thought it may be one way of looking into it.. I will leave it, but think your suggested link is better. thnx for the feedback.. $\endgroup$ – user10932 Nov 28 '13 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer focuses on the actions that follow the behavior in my question, or rather, "Noticing them, WITH reacting, relating or comparing". I'm more interested to what happens prior to the comparison, the process of actively noticing the similarities, the "Aha, we think alike" or "He is also ... just like me" moment. Nonetheless I find the answer very informative and helpful, especially the list you linked to, which I'm still reading. $\endgroup$ – Lord of Life Nov 28 '13 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ @LordofLife glad it helped, I wasn't that happy with it, in addressing your needs, but if it's helped in any way that is good :) $\endgroup$ – user10932 Nov 28 '13 at 10:34

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