The Psychology of Competition

The Psychology of Competition  discusses how competitive behaviour is rooted from comparison, specifically, from individual and social perspectives.

The Psychology of Competition follows a research article structure very accurately as it progresses from an abstract, then into sub headings and finally a conclusion. This format allows the paper to go in-depth about each form of individual factors of competitiveness; personal factors, rational factors, and figure 2. Once the article has introduced these main areas of investigation, it proceeded with definitions, then an example, it is able to make connections with the previous sub-heading and the implications on eachother. For example, the article goes from three variables that increase comparison: relevance of performance dimension, similarity to target, closeness to target, into the incentive structure that further specifies into proximity to a standard, number of competitors, social category fault lines. Providing a more in-depth understanding of what “social comparisons and competition” implies. By clearly presenting the set perspectives, it is able to cover a closed range of alternatives that allows the article to remain focused. Unlike all previous articles we have studied in class, Garcia presents the limitation to their perspectives, which I think provides greater credibility to their labs as it bases itself to upholding standards of inclusion of information, such as the value of peer-reviewing. Similar to Bateson, this article also articulates the applicability of its concepts to the general society, which not as prominent in Molina’s article that provides applicability within the scope of history and theories. The article’s form is justified as the article’s audience is the Association for Psychological Science, which aims to promote, and research to improve psychological research, hence a research paper. The rhetorical moves, that we discussed in class are highly applicable to this article, as it’s progression of ideas is very formatted. Which I believe has aided this article to better reach and be valuable to the audience, as it has presupposed the kinds of expectations one associates with a research paper; experiments, connections between ideas, and possible area for further development, which is the exact goal of the audience’s organization.

In comparison to Molina’s article has a different structure, in regards to its sequencing of information, length, and analysis.

Molina article proceeds with a brochure or magazine article. As its audience, Anthropology Today, is aimed towards anthropologist, rather than psychologist, the style and format of written work is far more different. Being a magazine article, the style is similar to that of a story, where one discover the meaning behind the sub-heading as one proceeds further into the reading. It is interesting how both seem to be looking at competition, but however are analyzing it in different ways depending on their fields. Anthropologist have taken an approach of how competition has co-existed in evolution to allow for human innovation and progression, and takes on a more historical perspective. Whereas Garcia’s research article presents human behavior, and what fuels the competitive nature of the modern society. This rhetorical move is very familiar to the given audience, and allows a more digestible articulation of the ideas presented.

In reference to katechecknita4023’s post, I resonated with her personal connection to the article by Garcia. Which helped to visualize the applicability of this article, hence its relevancy to society. I find this fascinating, as the article is discussing competition by comparison, and that is exactly what we are doing in this blog post as we try to find connections or “similarities”. In addition, the article is able to acquire further validity through its examples, as the article has constricted the scope of each kind of comparison. The article also increases its credibility as it is able is laced with many peer-reviewed studies, and examples that its target audience is able to resonate with.

I personally resonate with this article, as I do constantly compare myself, but not to other people usually myself. This is a reflection on the evidence of “similarity” with the competition. I think a lot of my friends are not that similar to me, in regards to what we strive to be and our career goals, and rather we have similar moral and ethical codes, which I do not believe is something that one aggressively disputes over. The evidence that most is relevant to me was the “number of competitors”, in debate there are categories, I tend to go for the ones that are low in the competition pool, this is because there are less people, increasing the chances of winning. In the article it explicitly describes how competition increases as the decrease in competitors, I do agree, as I have noticed that because one is closer to winning, they put in more effort to try and attain one of the top 3 winning spots. The comparison that occurs is based on similarity with this experience, as most of the competitors choose sad or very explicitly violent content, and the similarity posed more of a threat to ones who have similar readings, as the judges are hyper normalized to the content and then are less receptive to the outrageous content. Whereas, the odd one out , usually comedy, provided a great advantage for that individual, and was seen less as a threat as it competed with a different set of standards and expectations.

Work Cited

Molina, J.L., et al. (2017). “Cooperation and Competition in Social Anthropology”. Anthropology Today, vol. 33, no. 1, 2017, pp. 11-14.

Garcia, Stephen M., et al. “The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 8, no. 6, 2013, pp. 634–650. JSTOR,

“String Comparison in Java – Javatpoint.”, 2018,

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