By: D. J. Siegel, Association for Psychological Science
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Like it or not, competition is a fact of life, the driving force behind evolution, and an intrinsic part of the human experience. Any time two or more parties, whether they are individuals, sports teams, corporate groups, political parties, or countries, strive to attain a goal that cannot be shared, competition will occur.
The goal can be concrete (survival, being hired, winning a soccer match, becoming a millionaire) or more ephemeral (being beautiful, gaining prestige), but it usually requires an investment of energy and resources. For example, in a rugby match, two teams compete to score the most points and win a trophy (a concrete goal) but winning also means attaining the more elusive goals of increased pride, prestige, and satisfaction at having bettered an opponent.
To read the entire news release, see the APS Observer website at http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/november-10/vying-for-the-prize-competition-in-large-and-small-groups.html.