What is the psychology of competition?

Stephen M. Garcia, Avishalom Tor, Andrew J. Elliot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Common definitions of competition tend to emphasize its objective features, which produce a zero-sum interaction whereby the outcome establishes winners and losers based on more than mere chance. The psychological study of competition, however, is primarily concerned with individuals' behavior and their subjective feelings, perceptions, motivations, and intentions. As such, this chapter defines competition more broadly to include all manifestations of individual competitive behavior or competitive psychological state, even when they occur outside of overtly competitive institutional arrangements or explicitly competitive interactions. The authors then outline the chapters in this volume to showcase the study of competition across the broad spectrum of psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Competition
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780190060831
ISBN (Print)9780190060800
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Oxford University Press 2024. All rights reserved.


  • Biopsychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Competition
  • Competitive behavior
  • Decision making
  • Emotion
  • Motivation
  • Organizational psychology
  • Personality psychology
  • Social psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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