In the article “Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective.” written by Stephen M. Garcia, Avishalom Tor, and Tyrone M. Schiff, it was interesting to see their viewpoint contradict from other readings we have encountered in class, as they implicate competition is inevitable as noted by tianren123’s analysis that we as humans “cannot avoid competition” even if we acknowledge the benefits that cooperation can bring us.
Instead of cooperation as emphasized by Rubin and Molina et al., the authors of this paper put an emphasis on social comparison – a concept they explicate as phenomenon that arises as individuals are inherently propelled by nature of “unidirectional drive upward,” to maximize individual performance which simultaneously results in “competitive behaviour behaviour to protect one’s superiority.”
Their argument is intriguing because they are implying that it is not the ability or capability itself, but rather relativity between people that matters. Hence, the quality of the output that is produced by competition, is not of focus, but rather if you have “outperformed” your competition or not. This contradicts with Rubin’s research as he argued competition exists indirectly within the market with a purpose of societal benefit for the average consumers, rather than having the motive as to actually outperform the competition directly.
One of the example that I found brilliant with Garcia and his peers was when they mention the reluctance of the teams within the vicinity of similar ranks to trade players with one another. This example works in coherence with their argument, as it clearly shows the teams’ desires to reach the top, which results in obvious reluctance to trade players in fear of being outperformed by their rivals.
As I was reading the article, what I have come to realize at the end was that us as humans, are inherently very social animals, in which they care about what others think of them. Because of this tendency, we will always react in a certain way based on how others will act. This lead to an implication of humans as active adaptors based whether it be situational context or personal context as argued by Garcia et al. This is why I, personally, interpret competition (as well as cooperation) as one of the features that arise inevitably as humans are, by nature, species that are highly networked beings based on different norms, ethnicity, age, etc. In Garcia et al.’s article, for example, when they mention of the N effect (a theory in which comparison concerns intensify and competitiveness increases as the number of competitors decreases), it demonstrates that humans react based on what they think the supposed “audience” will approve of them (in fear of being judged).
Garcia, Stephen M., Avishalom Tor, and Tyrone M. Schiff. “The Psychology of Competition.” Perspectives on Psychological Science8, no. 6 (2013): 634-50. doi:10.1177/1745691613504114.