On Rivalry and Goal Pursuit: Shared Competitive History, Legacy Concerns, and Strategy Selection October 2015 By Benjamin ConverseDavid A. Reinhard On Rivalry and Goal Pursuit: Shared Competitive History, Legacy Concerns, and Strategy Selection On Rivalry and Goal Pursuit: Shared Competitive History, Legacy Concerns, and Strategy Selection Seven studies converge to show that prompting people to think about a rival versus a nonrival competitor causes them to view current competitions as more connected to past ones, to be more concerned with long-term legacy, and to pursue personal goals in a more eager, less cautious manner. These results are consistent with a social–cognitive view of rivalry that defines it as a competitive relational schema. A preliminary analysis revealed that people were more likely to appeal to past competitions to explain the importance of current rivalry than nonrivalry contests. Experiment 1 showed that people view rivalry versus nonrivalry competitions as more embedded in an ongoing competitive narrative and that this perception increases legacy concerns. The next 2 experiments used a causal chain approach to examine the possibility of legacy concerns acting as a mediator between rivalry and eagerness. Experiment 2a demonstrated that longer (vs. shorter) competitive histories are associated with increased legacy concerns. Experiment 2b manipulated legacy concerns and found that this shifted regulatory focus toward eagerness. Finally, 3 experiments tested the direct effect of thinking about a rival on eager strategy selection: Thinking about rivals (vs. nonrivals) led people to be more interested in offensive than defensive strategies (Experiment 3), to initiate rather than delay their goal pursuit (Experiment 4), and to rely on spontaneous rather than deliberative reasoning (Experiment 5). We suggest that rivalries affect how people view their goals and the strategies they use for pursuing them, and that these effects are at least partially attributable to the shared history between individuals and their rivals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Benjamin Converse Benjamin Converse is an associate professor of public policy and psychology at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on motivation, social judgment, problem solving and decision making. He teaches courses related to leadership and negotiations. Read full bio David A. Reinhard Related Content Benjamin Converse People systematically overlook subtractive changes Research A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient. Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations Research To move from commitment to action, planners must think about the future and decide when to initiate. We demonstrate that planners prefer to initiate on upcoming days that immediately follow a temporal boundary. We instinctively add on new features and fixes. Why don’t we subtract instead? News Across a series of studies published this month in the journal Nature, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin Converse and co-authors demonstrated that people tend to overlook the option to subtract parts when asked to change or improve something. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, they explore why ‘less is more’ is a hard insight to act on. Why People Forget that Less is Often More News Why, when solving problems, do people prefer adding things to getting rid of them? In an article for The Economist, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams and Benjamin Converse explain their research on subtractive improvements.