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Symposium Year: 2013
Student(s): Samantha Calhoun, Emily Creegan, Jennifer Cruz, Brandon Petenbrink, Alexander Poland
Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Paul C. Bernhardt
In basking in reflected glory (BIRG) persons advertise their affiliation with successful others as a way to improve their self-esteem. Sociometer Theory describes self-esteem as being a person’s accumulated belief about his or her standing with others and act to maintain good standing. Sociometer Theory, therefore, suggests that BIRG happens when it can be presumed others’ can notice and be influenced by the basking behavior. Persons are known to BIRG with political yard signs and, based on the application of Sociometer Theory, we hypothesized that people would be more likely to BIRG where a greater proportion of neighbors displayed political signs. Researchers recorded the sign displayed at 328 homes prior to the 2012 Presidential election in four communities. The researchers returned to the same addresses after Election Day and noted which signs remained on display. The density of political signs in each of 58 neighborhoods with signs was determined. A median split was used to designate high and low sign density neighborhoods. BIRG was found in the high sign density neighborhoods with 33 of 67 (49.3%) Obama signs remaining displayed, but only 19 of 85 (22.4%) Romney signs remaining displayed (χ2[df = 1, N = 152] = 12.047, p = .001). In contrast, BIRG was not found in low sign density neighborhoods with 20 of 65 (30.8%) Obama signs remaining displayed and 28 of 111 (25.2%) Romney signs remaining displayed (χ2[df = 1, N = 176] = 0.635, n.s.). The fact that BIRG occurred in high sign density neighborhoods and not in low sign density neighborhoods is consistent with Sociometer Theory.
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