Navigation Links
Harnessing a personal rivalry can boost an individual's athletic performance
Date:7/2/2014

July 2, 2014 - We can all think of great sports rivals: tennis players Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, or basketball players Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. These fierce, personal rivalries seem worlds apart from a hometown 5K race. Yet even local races often produce rivals who push each other to higher levels of performance, according to new research that surveyed runners and used data from 184 races.

Rivalries are distinct from other competitions as those involved place higher stakes on their performance independent of any tangible outcomes. "Take the rivalry between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. They have held exhibition matches for charity in recent years, and despite the fact that both players have long been retired and that the outcomes of these matches carry no financial stakes, they are fiercely competitive with each other," says Gavin Kilduff of New York University's (NYU) Stern School of Business. "I would argue that this is due to the longstanding rivalry relationship between these two, which encompasses their long history of competing against each other."

After feeling puzzled by past research suggesting that competition can be detrimental to motivation in sports or otherwise Kilduff turned to rivalries to see if motivation varies based on who we are competing against and the relationship we have with those people. "I suspected that rivalry might have very different consequences from the kind of coerced laboratory competition that characterized most prior research."

In his new study published today in Social Psychological and Personality Science, Kilduff took two approaches to studying rivalries: First, he surveyed people online about their feelings toward rivals, as well as characteristics of the rivalries. Then, he analyzed results from 184 races over a 6-year time period in a U.S. running club to try to identify rivalries and to match them to changes in performance over time. The races ranged from 3 to 21 kilometers, but most were 5K runs.

Runners who Kilduff surveyed reported having about three rivals on average. "I think some people may find it surprising that runners actually pick one and another out at these kind of races but my experiences speaking with them suggests they indeed do," he says. Also without prompting, these runners reported that rivalry motivated them to train and race harder and faster.

Online survey data also revealed several factors that lead to rivalry: similarity (e.g. age and gender), repeated competition, and closely-decided contests. Using these factors, Kilduff identified pairs of rivals in three years of race data matching up people who were similar, had run many races together, and who had finished with similar race times. He then looked at the subsequent three years of race data to see how the performance of these pairs changed over time.

Kilduff found that runners ran faster in the races featuring their rivals. While past research had identified similarity between competitors as a potential motivating factor, the work is novel in showing that results of past contests can make people more motivated in future ones.

"How we behave in competition situations depends on our relationship and history of interaction with our opponent," Kilduff says. "This suggests that we may be able to boost our own levels of motivation and performance by either forming rivalries or harnessing the ones we already have. It might also get us to think about whether other individuals in our lives may view us as their rivals."

Kilduff does offer some caution in approaching rivalries, noting other research that suggests that people may act more unethically or engage in more risky behaviors if it means outperforming a rival. But, he notes that rivalries may have other unexplored benefits, such as promoting greater commitment and loyalty within groups (think of famous group rivalries: Yankees/Red Sox, Michigan/Ohio State). And he and NYU doctoral student Jeff Thomas are also exploring whether rivals may actually, under the right conditions, be more likely to cooperate with each other than non-rival competitors, due to a sense of shared identity.


'/>"/>

Contact: Lisa M.P. Munoz
spps.media@gmail.com
571-354-0754
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Solatube International Celebrates Earth Day 2013 by Harnessing the Sun’s Rays with Daylighting
2. Could Your Personality Be Reflected in Your Pooch?
3. Personalized Blood Pressure Therapy May Help Diabetics
4. Personalizing biologic treatment to individual patients with rheuatoid arthritis is cost-effective
5. Business Travel Harmful to Health: Medical & Personal Fitness Experts Announce "Exercise is Solution to Many Travel Ailments"
6. USA Payday Forever Forecasts Delay Of Personal Finance Help Documents For Their Website
7. Interactive personal health records increase clinical preventive services
8. Chemicals in personal care products may increase risk of diabetes in women
9. A new genre of diagnostic tests for the era of personalized medicine
10. Personality and social psychology at the 2012 APA Convention
11. University of Pennsylvania and Novartis form alliance to expand use of personalized T cell cancer therapy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:7/27/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... HIMSS ... will keynote Day 2 of the HIMSS Healthcare Security Forum, the nation’s foremost ... Sheraton Boston Hotel, Sept. 11-13, 2017. , Daniel will deliver his keynote, The ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... Madison, WI (PRWEB) , ... July 26, 2017 ... ... launch of Talent Management Solutions as part of their continued efforts to provide ... retain, and develop the best IT resources and build dynamic, high-performing teams to ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... , ... July 27, 2017 , ... It's time to sign up for ... with great benefits," says Kathy Heshelow, founder of Sublime Naturals and author of numerous books ... essential oil each month, mailed by the 5th. , Two items are ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... IDC-Eating Disorder Care ... for the treatment program located in Royal Oak, Michigan. IDC, formerly known ... are focused on providing the highest standards in the field of eating disorder treatment ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... The number of adults 65 ... States, but ways to improve asthma control in the population are not well described. ... (JACI: In Practice), an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/15/2017)... 2017 Enterin Inc., a Philadelphia ... (PD), today announced the completion of a $12.7 million Series ... III, as well as the participation of existing investors. ... have the support of New Ventures III and our current ... of the potential of our platform technology to transform the ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... , July 13, 2017 It should come as ... is in the midst of a crippling opioid ... since 1999, the number of overdose deaths from opiate-based medications ... over half a million dead from 2001 to 2015". During ... and hydrocodone has similarly quadrupled, drawing a compelling link between ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... , July 13, 2017 RK Logistics Group, ... of Pharmacy certification for its Fremont, CA ... solutions in the Tri-Valley and San Jose ... City of Fremont , with its Fremont Innovation ... to provide such a powerful resource to the hundreds of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: