Soccer Fans' Self and Group Perceptions of Superiority over Rival Fans

Sarah Goldie, Sandy Wolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tendency for people to perceive themselves more favourably than others is well documented in studies of ingroup bias, selective comparisons and general illusory superiority. The present study aimed to investigate the existence of self-aggrandizement among soccer (association football) supporters and to examine the extent to which the specificity of comparisons and self-esteem might affect such perceptions. Participants recruited from soccer fan websites completed an online questionnaire in which they compared both themselves and their fellow fans with rival fans. Higher levels of superiority were found for self than fellow fan comparisons. This effect occurred for both soccer-related and soccer-unrelated characteristics regardless of self-esteem, with the weakest effect found when participants compared their fellow fans with rival fans on the soccer-unrelated items. The results are discussed in terms of the robustness of cognitive and motivational mechanisms underlying bias in the social comparison process. These findings suggest that a number of processes may underlie perceptions of superiority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-36
JournalJournal of Sport Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014

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