In today’s day and age rarely does a day go by where we as young adults are not competing in something. Whether it be going to school, playing sports, or even purchasing a new pair of shoes. Everything we do has the incentive behind it to better ourselves and this is because we are constantly being compared to one another. There is not necessarily anything wrong with the competition aspect of it but we seek a greater understanding of why we feel the need to stand out, especially amongst our peers. In Garcia’s article “The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective” we are asked to take a look at the factors that contribute to our levels of competitiveness with one another. Through reading this article we are also able to see many theories that are directly applicable to the work of Amy cooper in her research article “Contested Meaning of Prescription Stimulant Use in College”.
In Garcia’s article we are able to draw application from his Work into Amy Cooper’s findings. When Garcia brings up the “Individual Factors” in the psychology in competition he is referring to three things in particular. The Relevance, Similarity, and Closeness between all competing parties. Each of these factors plays some role in the level of competition. With the more similar the “Actors” being the more competitive they were to be around one another. When we refer this back to Amy Cooper’s findings in her article it is found to be the case that all the people she and her team surveyed were all Caucasian, middle upper class, and found in the north eastern states of the US. So due to the implication of Garcia’s theory of higher similarities among individuals equating to greater competition, could that mean the stimulant epidemic that’s apparent in Cooper’s work could possibly be less credible? These being due to the fact the students were only being more competitive because they were competing with those (their peers) from a similar background? I believe more research would need to be conducted and on a much larger scale to gain a more definitive answer of this theory. However, I believe it certainly raises questions to the argument that what Cooper is saying is may not be as credible as people believe.
The points Garcia is making in his article drive the choices we make in our everyday lives. When we directly apply some of these points to Amy Cooper’s works we are able to gain a broader perspective on the credibility of her work. With this same way of thinking would we be able to gain a broader perspective on other things in our life? Like why it feels so good when you beat one of your own team mates in a game of basketball, or why you feel so upset when your best friend gets a better grade on a test than you. It is this train of thought of exactly why people enjoy doing better than their friends that I hope this post is able to generate.
Link to image- https://gunroswell.wordpress.com/tag/keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer-sun-tzu/