Author Notes: Emily M. Zitek, Department of Psychology, Stanford University; Benoît Monin, Graduate School of Business and Department of Psychology, Stanford University. Emily M. Zitek is now at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. We would like to thank Ned Lederer and Severo Guardado, Jr. for their assistance with the data collection for Study 3.
“That's the one I wanted”: when do competitors copy their opponents' choices?
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 43, Issue 2, pages 293–305, February 2013
How to Cite
Zitek, E. M. and Monin, B. (2013), “That's the one I wanted”: when do competitors copy their opponents' choices?. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43: 293–305. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00999.x
- Issue published online: 14 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2013
This paper explores the interactive effect of competitiveness and choice structure on symbolic (noninstrumental) choices in competitive situations. When individuals in competitive situations learn the stated preference of their opponent, their own choice depends on their competitiveness and on whether they are in an inclusive-choice situation (in which both competitors can end up with the same option) or an exclusive-choice situation (in which they cannot). We obtained this predicted interaction in an imagined video game challenge (Studies 1 and 3), cooking contest (Study 2), and March Madness bracket competition (Study 4). Highly competitive people copied their opponent's choices in exclusive-choice situations, and seemed to do this because they wanted to frustrate their opponent (Studies 3 and 4).