This article by Stephen M. Garcia, Garcia, Avishalom Tor and Tyrone M. Schiff mainly concentrates on the psychological perspective of comparison which leads to competition. The writers proposed a new model of study which distinguishes between the individual and situational factors that increases social comparison and thus leads to a range of competitive attitudes and behavior. According to me the whole article is divided into two parts- Individual factors and Situational factors which leads to comparison. Further, different types of individual and situational factors have been explained.
The article answers to the question- WHEN AND WHY ARE WE SO COMPETITIVE?
In today’s world we can see competition almost everywhere. Be it studies at school, playing a sport, business or even buying and selling goods in the market during sales/offers. Competition is now universal, and it is inexplicable. But the catch from the article is that we are most competitive when we know our competitor and especially when he is a friend (sometimes family). We all have experienced this in our daily lives that we are more competitive with friends than with strangers but never realized it. An experiment (Tesser, 1988; Tesser & Campbell, 1982) on competitiveness was conducted where studies have found that participants provided fewer helpful clues to friends than to strangers on competitive tasks that were self-relevant (Tesser, 1988; Tesser & Smith, 1980). Further studies found that people feel more threatened by the success of their friends than by that of strangers (Zuckerman & Jost, 2001). I believe this is because one wants to prove his/her superiority and humans are always seeking for attention in his/her social group. And this superiority comes with the benefit of seeking attention from the peer group which is also a constant demand of humans.
According to a few scholars, “competitiveness” is a biological trait that evolved because of the basic need to survive in society. Reference to the example of ‘Hunting – Gathering society” where all members of society participated in hunting activities to survive. Competitive behavior can’t be explained simply as a psychological trait because considering modern times and circumstances, competition is key to survival, survival to be the best at everything. Competitive behavior in modern times is an unconscious behavior because of the simple fact that survival matters and key to survival is competition. Normally we assume competition is stronger when it comes to competing against strangers but according to me competition against family or peer groups is stronger. This competition arises because of the self – evaluation maintenance.
In conclusion, competition may appear as a means to be the best but we humans have several other concerns related to competitiveness. Competition in academics, business, etc for humans is to prove one’s own worth and be the best.
But competition among social groups is for the demand to be superior and the center of attention. These traits look unimportant but these are unconscious demands of every human in any social group. This competition can be healthy or unhealthy leading to complications in the relationship but this is the competition that never stops.