Tag Archives | Competition

Why We Need to Abolish Competition and Embrace Arguments | Interview with Margaret Heffernan

Abby Martin interviews Margaret Heffernan, author of ‘Willful Blindness’ and ‘A Bigger Prize’, about the destructive impact of competition and alternative models of incentivizing people to work together for the greater good.

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Women Subconsciously Try to Outdo Other Women During Ovulation

Pic: Augusto de Luca (CC)

Pic: Augusto de Luca (CC)

A research team at the UTSA College of Business discovered that during ovulation women become more competitive with other women.

Via MedNewsToday:

Researchers have found that during ovulation, women are subconsciously meaner to other females and aim to have a “higher standing” over them.

Furthermore, non-ovulating women were willing to share around 50% of their money with other women, while ovulating women were only willing to share about 25%.

Another experiment required women to make certain product choices. Their choices could either increase their individual financial gain or increase their financial gains in relation to other women.

In one example of this experiment, women were asked to indicate whether they would prefer to have a car worth $25,000 while other women received cars worth $40,000 (option A), or have a car worth $20,000 while other women received cars worth $12,000 (option B).

The investigators found that the majority of ovulating women chose option B because they wanted a car that would give them a “higher standing” over other women.

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The Case Against Competition

Alfie Kohn is the Noam Chomsky of psychology and education. His research on competition, completed years ago, is more relevant and vital today than ever.

Kohn’s book No Contest: The Case Against Competition reviews all the available research in “psychology, sociology, biology, education, and other fields,” clearly demonstrating that our struggle to defeat each other — at work, at school, at play, and at home — turns all of us into losers:

“Contrary to the myths with which we have been raised, Kohn shows that competition is not an inevitable part of ´human nature.´ It does not motivate us to do our best (in fact, the reason our workplaces and schools are in trouble is that they value competitiveness instead of excellence.) Rather than building character, competition sabotages self-esteem and ruins relationships. It even warps recreation by turning the playing field into a battlefield.

No Contest makes a powerful case that ‘healthy competition’ is a contradiction in terms.

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Help Make A Disinfonaut An Astronaut

Smelly armpit deodorising company, Lynx (or Axe as they are known outside the United Kingdom) recently launched a contest to send 22 people into space, and I want to be one of them (vote for me here).

Via Space.com:

The company today (Jan. 9) kicked off its new AXE Apollo Space Academy, an online contest that promises to send 22 winners to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship. The winning space travelers will launch aboard a suborbital Lynx space plane built by the U.S. company XCOR Aerospace and operated by the tourism firm Space Expedition Curacao, AXE officials said.

“Space travel for everyone is the next frontier in the human experience,” Buzz Aldrin, who became the second person ever to walk on the moon during NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission in 1969, said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that AXE is giving the young people of today such an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of what I’ve encountered in space.”

The contest is open to men and women in more than 60 countries who sign up on the AXE Apollo Space Academy website (AXEApollo.com) and write about why they should be chosen to fly in space, while others will vote on the entries.

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Evolution of Narcissism: Why We’re Overconfident and Why It Works

David Vs Goliath

David and Goliath, Osmar Schindler (c. 1888)

Christine Dell’Amore writes in National Geographic:

For years, psychologists have observed that people routinely overestimate their abilities, said study leader Dominic Johnson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Some experts have suggested that overconfidence can be a good thing, perhaps by boosting ambition, resolve, and other traits, creating self-fulfilling prophecies.

But positive self-delusion can also lead to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations, and hazardous decisions, according to the study — making it a mystery why overconfidence remains a key human trait despite thousands of years of natural selection, which typically weeds out harmful traits over generations.

Now, new computer simulations show that a false sense of optimism, whether when deciding to go to war or investing in a new stock, can often improve your chances of winning.

“There hasn’t been a good explanation for why we are overconfident, and this new model offers a kind of evolutionary logic for that,” Johnson said.

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