The Psychology of Competition: What Motivates Comparison and Competition

In Garcia’s article, The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective, a new outlook on the concept and cause of social comparison competition is brought to light.

Through his study, it is understood that there are two leading factors, which influence competitiveness. The first being Individual Variables, and the next being Situational Factors. Both can work independently or in tandem to promote competition.

Individual Variables initially form from two different motives. Either from one’s desire to reduce the difference in level between themselves and others that may be ahead, or maintain a specific level so one doesn’t fall behind their competitors. When comparing similar minority groups, an increase is shown when there is a motivation to advance or surpass another. Within groups or relationships themselves, it is expressed that people tend to be threated more by their peers and close relations than strangers or people they are not associated with.

Situations Factors are when higher expected values cause an increase in comparison and competition amongst a group of people. Different situations and environments can make different impacts on competitiveness within them. The proximity standards can make a great difference on the level of comparison and drive to succeed. Factors such as the number of competitors, the audience, judges/evaluators/instructors, and social categories all impact the situation and environment. Additionally, one’s perception of the given situation can lead to competitive behaviours.

Garcia’s article showcases the psychological components that causethe development ofsocialcomparison and competitiveness amongst botth the individual and the situtational setting.

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