The Psychology Of Rivalry
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The Psychology Of Rivalry

How rivalries are born and why they can be amazing, or terrible, for us.

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The Psychology Of Rivalry

Rivalry is described as the "feeling of competitiveness towards another subject". Most of us have probably felt the feeling at some point in our lives, but did you ever stop to think why exactly we as humans had an evolutionary benefit by feeling a sort of fighting spirit against another?

Competition is a fact of life in this world. Students compete to get into colleges, players compete to get onto the team, researchers compete to earn grants from universities, and companies compete to offer better products than their competitors. However, sometimes the competition can become so much more than simply being a fight between two groups. Take the near-legendary rivalry between Duke and North Carolina in college basketball. Yet the reason that the rivalry is so respected is that the competitiveness doesn't stem from hatred, but respect.

Rivalry increases the psychological stakes of competitions, even if the objective stakes are the same. Multiple studies have shown that rivalry in sports can increase performance in matches, and encourage people to try harder in whatever field that they compete in. Healthy rivalries encourage people to be their best. However, unhealthy rivalries can encourage the worst in people to show through. For example, a rivalry between two players might encourage them to practice and play with more determination and skill, or it could encourage them to seek ways to cheat in order to come out on top.

These situations happen to people in similar social standings. It makes sense, no one is going to compare you to someone a million times better or worse than you. Your neighbor is a fair game though. This is how rivalries are beneficial to us and why they can be used since they achieve better results from someone.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550614539770

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2020/03/duke-mens-basketball-north-carolina-tobacco-road-rivalry

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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