Psychology of Competition from a Social comparison perspective

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Stephen Garcia is currently an Associate Professor in Psychology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan.


In this paper, Garcia links social comparison to competition and distinguishes between individual and situational factors that increase social comparison.


The topic itself is interesting and unlike previous authors who present particular sides of competition, Garcia is linking a social phenomenon to the concept of competition. From the reading, we see overlapping elements of competition in previous readings such as the idea of zero-sum games in which one person’s gain is another’s loss. One thing that I really like about this reading is its structure, it’s almost like a scientific guide to the psychology of competition.

Fig.2 (also my featured image of this blog) gives a visual interpretation of the different types of individual factors, distinguishing between personal factors (individual differences) and relational factors (similarity, relationship closeness). Garcia’s subtopics are very specific in contrast to previous readings; it mostly features such as “number of competitors” or “proximity to a standard”.

The author draws upon a mass database of research done by other authors. Like all scientific proposals, there is no definite truth in any proposed theory, Garcia makes this qualifier in the beginning by stating that while his research focuses on the role of social comparison in increasing competition, they recognize the complexity of the issue.

Garcia expands the topic to various different fields at the end and actually constitutes a subtopic for each field, such as economics and business. This furthers his extensive research into the topic and provides relevancy for the reader as it is likely that at least one of these topics will interest the readers.



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