A Reflection on The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective

Garcia, Tor and Schiff’s article, The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective, discusses the significance of social comparison in competition and introduces a new model that focuses on the distinction between situational and individual factors that increase social comparison and result in a variety of competitive behaviours. They state that this distinction will assist in “future directions for social comparison research and generates new vistas across psychology and related disciplines.” I agree with @Andrea’s point that this article is similar to Werron’s work in the sense that both papers have an aim to use competition for future research and while they’re coming from slightly different perspectives, the concepts still work well together and result in benefiting each other’s ideas and this invites others to research further into both concepts and thus, would achieve the goal of both papers for future research. Additionally, I agree with @Andrea’s point that the Garcia et al article’s discourse community is broad because the authors have included many factors within psychology and beyond it, such as personality psychology, economics, law, consumer psychology, and etc, these are applicable to several different disciplines; therefore, they give this paper the potential to inspire diverse audiences to pursue further research. Furthermore, this reminds me of Bateson’s approach for having a broad audience. Bateson uses the examples of Darwin, the Bible, being a child and growing old and Garcia et al use examples like pogo stick and weightlifting competitions, tennis players and professionals, these are all generally common knowledge to most people and easily accessible in terms of understanding for someone who isn’t a scholar in the same fields as Bateson and Garcia et al.

 As someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be competitive, the concept of social comparison theory where people have a need to minimize discrepancies between themselves and others, doesn’t really apply to me nor did I think it was what majority of people felt. Subsequent to reading this article, I believe in the social comparison theory because even though many of the factors mentioned aren’t relatable to my own actions, I’ve experienced them from others. Prior to this, however, I just considered others to be shady and not competitive. For instance, regarding individual factors of competition, specifically relationship closeness meaning people would rather help strangers than their friends because of fear of their friend succeeding more than them, I’ve often found that friends of mine who’ve tried business ventures complaining about other friends lack of support. These other friends would rather spend hundreds of dollars in supporting a celebrity business rather than showing any support to my friends business and my response to them complaining has continually been that it’s not a true friend if they won’t support you but the confusion was that in other aspects, the other friends were pretty decent and didn’t seem malicious so I could never figure out why exactly they were hindering on being supportive for things like supporting another friends music career or clothing brand. The explanation, however, for their behaviour now makes sense after reading Garcia et al’s paper.

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