Economics,Stress and Competition

In a work environment everyone is usually tensed to come up with great ideas that will keep a company going and impress their bosses in order to be given high salaries or a promotion. This is similar to almost every situation in which a person is familiar with the risk of not working hard, which can be equivalent to losing a job or contract. There is an amazing turn in the understanding of the word competition from Buckert et. al, Competition in this case is perceived according to the counterparts opinions and evaluations whether they consider it as a challenge or a threat, this definition has been incorporated by a lot of companies in their policies such as, the winner-takes-it-all and the principal-agent-theory in order to motivate their employees to work hard.

The idea of competitive situations containing core features that characterize physiological stressors, uncontrollability and social evaluative threat performance is somehow similar to the argument in the (Nelson and Dawson) article discussed earlier in this course. The article argued that the cost of leading a competitive life tend to be one of the causes of severe mental health cases, for instance, stress, anxiety and depression. It is interesting how the article places much emphasis on health, which is a general issue and gives the audience curiosity to continue reading with relevance to finding out more information about how their health can be altered with regards to intense competition. In reading Buckert et. al, I realized that there is a large amount of empirical evidence and references, which not only gives credit to other peoples work but also provide credibility to the writers and also a chance for the readers to expand their knowledge on the topic in cases of needing in depth understanding about the claims being made, or just some further research.

In trying to investigate if a well established laboratory economic tournament game may function as a stressor the authors conducted a study where they measured changes in mood, heart rate as well as hormone levels in relation to the game. I like the fact that the researchers admitted to the experiment having a lot of possible limitations, I find the experiment relying much on objective findings based on the observations and measurements conducted by the researchers which is a reliable aspect that satisfies the universality and materialism concept of a good experiment. The ideas of measurements also give the study a falsifiable aspect and validation for good science. In some cases the measurements show no increase in Cortisol which is solely a hormone that help the body respond to stress, in my opinion the changes in findings can be due to some environmental and physiological factors or even genetic make-up of the person involved which can be acting as a third variable.

The main aim of the study was to investigate potential stress responses to a well-established economic laboratory paradigm. This study was conducted through a game activity and results recorded with direct reference to the changes in health of the participants as they were involved in the game. Being in a laboratory environment, I think this study is really difficult to relate to a real environment activity, but I tried to relate it to a work environment and the field of education.


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