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Everyone likes a winner. But apparently winners don’t like anybody. In fact, if you are the loser, beware the winner.
A winner – defined as anyone who outperforms others on a competitive task – acted more aggressively against the people they beat than vice versa according to a new study, the first of its kind to examine the aggressive post competition behavior of winners and losers. “It seems that people have a tendency to stomp down on those they have defeated, to really rub it in,” explained Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor communication and psychology at Ohio State University. “Losers, on the other hand, don’t really act any more aggressively than normal against those who defeated them.”
Bushman explained that there are reasons to believe that either side could want to continue the fight after the competition has ended. Losers, of course, might be bitter and angry toward those who got in the way of winning. They may feel that they withheld all their talent and want to unleash. Winners might have that moment of superiority and want to exercise it, to wield the power the won.
But in the end, “losers are the ones that get the brunt of the aggression,” according to Bushman’s study. His team has conducted multiple studies on aggression between competitors and consistently, the winners turn out to exercise their hard won power in an aggressive way toward competitors and team mates who under performed.
The question remains however that the loser may have lost because he was less aggressive than the winner to begin with. While that would explain the win, it does not explain the post game aggression. When given the opportunity, winners usually gloat with force.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Social Psychological and Personality Science
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