This chapter is about the correspondence between the psychology and social reality of devalued group membership. Well-being and the subjective satisfaction with life are, at best, modestly related to the objective conditions in which that life takes place. Often, members of minorities or otherwise devalued groups experience similar levels of self-esteem as members of objectively more privileged groups (for a review, see Crocker and Major, 1989). More surprisingly, they report very low levels of personal discrimination even if they are fully aware of the extent to which their group is discriminated against (Crosby, 1982). Thus, it would appear that they perceive themselves as less vulnerable to discrimination than the average member of their group. This discontinuity between judgments of discrimination for self and group has been called the personal-group discrimination discrepancy or PGDD (Crosby, 1982; Taylor, Wright, and Porter, 1994). It is a very robust effect that is found in a wide variety of devalued groups (Taylor, Wright, Moghaddam, and Lalonde, 1990).
The purpose of this chapter is to elaborate on prior work examining the role of social comparison processes in personal and group judgments of discrimination. Specifically, we consider the different goals and motivations involved in these perceptions and elaborate on the hypothesis that is being tested when personal versus group judgments of discrimination are made. One of the most significant consequences of social comparison activities is that they can alter feelings of entitlement, perceptions of being discriminated against, and the perceived relevance of various social categories.