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The N-Effect: More Competitors, Less Competition

Stephen M. Garcia

University of Michigan

Avishalom Tor

Notre Dame Law School; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law

January 6, 2009

Psychological Science, Forthcoming

The present analysis introduces the N-Effect - the discovery that increasing the number of competitors (N) can decrease competitive motivation. Studies 1a-b found evidence that average test scores (e.g., SAT scores) fall as the average number of test-takers at test-taking venues increases. Study 2 found that individuals trying to finish an easy quiz among the top 20 percent in terms of speed finished significantly faster if they believed they were competing in a pool of 10 versus 100 other people. Using a social comparison orientation (SCO) scale, Study 3 showed the N-Effect occurs strongly among those high in SCO and weakly among those low in SCO. Study 4 directly linked the N-Effect to social comparison, ruling out the “ratio-bias” and finding that social comparison becomes less important as N increases. Finally, Study 5 found the N-Effect is mediated by social comparison. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: Social Comparison, Competition, Motivation

JEL Classification: K21, K39, L29

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Date posted: May 6, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Garcia, Stephen M. and Tor, Avishalom, The N-Effect: More Competitors, Less Competition (January 6, 2009). Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1398107

Contact Information

Stephen M. Garcia
University of Michigan ( email )
741 Dennison Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-2561 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/stephen.garcia
Avishalom Tor (Contact Author)
Notre Dame Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States

University of Haifa - Faculty of Law ( email )
Mount Carmel
Haifa, IN IN 31905
Feedback to SSRN

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