Three kinds of opinion comparison: The triadic model

Jerry Suls*, René Martin, Ladd Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    82 Citations (Scopus)


    This article introduces the triadic model, which proposes that the social comparison of opinion is best considered in terms of 3 different evaluative questions: preference assessment (i.e., "Do I like X?"), belief assessment (i.e., "Is X correct?"), and preference prediction (i.e., "Will I like X?"). Each evaluative question is associated with a different comparison dynamic. The triadic model proposes that comparisons with persons similar in related attributes have special importance for preference assessment. For belief assessment, comparisons with persons of more advantaged status (or "expert") are most meaningful, although comparison targets also should hold certain basic values in common (the "similar expert"). Finally, in preference prediction, the most meaningful comparisons are with a person who has already experienced X (a proxy) and who exhibits either consistency (but not necessarily similarity) in related attributes or past preferences. Prior research and 4 new studies are described that support the theory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)219-237
    Number of pages19
    JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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