Friday, June 16, 2006

Ego traps us in costly, losing battles, study finds

This looks like a really nice piece of research. Kevin Vranes, take note :-)

No, really, that last comment was meant as a joke. But the findings of the paper certainly ring true to me - there's nothing that provokes a good flame war more than a few put-downs, subtle or otherwise. The internet is full of people doing the equivalent of bidding $3.71 for a (known) $1 prize.


Anonymous said...

Quickly reading the linked page reminds me of the scenes in National Lampoon's "Vegas Vacation" with Clark Griswold at the blackjack table. :)

Yet, I'm wondering (without reading the paper, only the article linked) if one of the groups was subjected to a bit of ego 'stroking' prior to the gambling, and if similar reactions/impulses might have resulted. (ie, "lady luck is with
me, tonight!" type of effect, especially considering the study group was of college age)

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

The deal is that even counterproductive behaviors like this often have an evolutionary rationale. My guess is that it's some variation of the "don't mess with me, I'm crazy" gene.

The basic idea is that by displaying recklessness you might discourage harassment by a more powerful but cautious competitor. The "is he Sicilian" idea from the Godfather (when they stick the horses head in the guy's bed).