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Performance Factors Contributing to the Acquisition of a Psychological Advantage in Competition

Myers, Albert E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Naval Research, Competition, Failure (Psychology), Performance Factors, Psychological Patterns, Success


The purpose of this experiment was to investigate psychological advantages in competitive encounters. Twenty Ss participated in four-man tournaments using shuffleboard bowling machines. By remote control, the experimenter was able to manipulate the scores. A 2 x 2 factorial design controlled for the mean performance (high vs. low) and the variability (high vs. low) of each S. It was found that the low mean Ss gained a psychological advantage in this situation which was characterized by a pessimistic outlook and poor strategy selection on the part of their opponents.

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