Garcia et al mentioned the social comparison theory. The social comparison theory is essentially when people are encouraged by other people’s performance and want to “minimize or prevent the discrepancy” of their own performance compared to the other person. Garica et al later provided an example with racquetball. When a racquetball player “compares” their performance to a better racquetball player, this will cause the racquetball player to want to close the gap between their skill level. This however also applies to players who are not as good as you, but if they have the potential to surpass you, this may cause someone to want to improve themselves as well to prevent them from catching up to them.
I think this is especially interesting since we as humans often learn from each other by mimicking other people’s actions. I thought about how I was often compared to my siblings and cousins my age, and how as I grew older, I started to compare myself to my other classmates causing me to be competitive. Because I wanted to impress my parents, I wanted to close the gap between my performance compared to my siblings. I was shocked to find out that a theory important as the social comparison (psychology), wasn’t as studied as much compared to “sociology, political science or business”. Especially considering how relatable it is to everyone.
Bateson discusses in her commentary that when children are first born they are the at a time where they learn a system such as when you cry, you get fed, and how she thinks that if we could teach our kids to think more systematically then for themselves, we can have a generation which will be less individualistic. I thought it was interesting that I was taught as a child to compare myself to other people – in other words, I was taught to be competitive.
The social comparison model “distinguishes the individual from situational factors of social comparison that influence competitive behavior (645)”.
When talking about relational factors, it was mentioned that “two academics who are both persons of color, from the same university, from a similar PhD vintage, and working in the same field are highly similar in terms of personal characteristics” (638 et al.)
Going back to my previous thought of how I often compared myself to cousins my age, it’s interesting when they mentioned similarity in relational factors. Considering I was the same age, race, and education as my cousins at the time, it makes sense that I often compared myself to them, as people who are similar are more “prone toward mutual social comparison (638 et al.)”.
I also agree with Fiona Huang on how they appreciated how the author took a more neutral approach when tackling competition and cooperation.