Competitive Play

The purpose of this project is to observe non-competitive personalities and to test if and to what extent can that personality become competitive. This project involves using social groups such as professional, educational and friendship groups. By testing these groups, it can be determined who is and isn't competitive and what makes them competitive whether it's towards one another, or a specific outcome. By ascertaining the type of competitive personality, it can then be used to change how they approach different scenarios involving work ethic, fun or positive behaviour.

So I decided to pick people from separate social groups, some were from my Mother's work group, one was from my Father's. A couple of my friends who never met each other and another two who did know each other. In total I had eight people participating in my project and once this was sorted the excitement to see the outcome was overwhelming.

First thing I needed to do was to get these people to do a survey for me which involved questions about their current competitive lives, mentioning things like sport/events/games etc. Out of the eight people who I picked, I got quite varying responses. Some weren't so competitive and some were. The people from my Mother's profession only play netball every now and then, but they also have children who are quite competitive when it comes to entertainment. People from my Father's profession also have children who were competitive so they were quite aware about it but otherwise they haven't played any sports for years and don't play games. My friends answered how I expected them to which was okay but didn't really help me learn anything new because I'm hoping to learn something about the behaviour towards other competitors which I hadn't observed just yet.

Limb concept

I planned a tournament of games for these people to compete against each other for prizes. The tournament comprised of four games, the first three were totally different to each other, a card game, a sport, and a game based on teamwork. The last game will be a repeat but people would vote which one they want to do again. Several different preparations were made for this tournament but I didn't run into any problems straight away which was a good start.

Limb concept

Prizes were valued quite differently and the expenses came out of my budget for this project which was around $50. In the end however, prizes were only a factor of what I want in the outcome of this project. Since this was a practical approach to my research project I had to create a survey for those eight people, one before and one after. I also had to measure the behaviour throughout the tournament, which was considered when I was planning (eg. The sport game was something to look forward to for those who weren't into playing cards).

During the first game, most of the competitors have never touched a trading card game before, but I was prepared for this and tried to keep it a short game. I also provided everyone the trading cards necessary for the games. It was hard to observe this game because I was focused on teaching everyone how to actually play the game than actually watching their behaviour towards one another. But their personalities towards this game was evident which helped with the project as a whole.

During the second game, it was much easier to observer the competitors because I got my friends to judge the games as we have played tennis with each other before. There was a significant difference in overall enthusiasm and activeness compared to the first game which tells me more about the personalities of the people. I managed to test to see if I could change this behaviour by sticking older competitors with the younger ones, it was interesting seeing their first reactions mainly from the younger competitors. I believed this changed how the younger competitors behaviour towards the older competitors and it was evident that a bond between everyone has been established which will be great for the next game.

During the third game, I randomly paired everyone up because of the type of game it was. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (link) is a great teamwork game and for this tournament it was a very experimental way to compete against each other. Everyone was split up into different pairs and played the game. The first round was slightly stressful because of the same reason as the first game, but the second round was a lot better because everyone was so into the game. I believe half of the reason everyone was so into the game was because of the previous games we played and the bonds everyone established before-hand. The other half of the reason was because everyone was just having a lot of fun, which means it was easier for them to get into the game.

Limb concept

For the fourth game everyone voted and the most votes went towards the third game but there was a difference because it seemed everyone wanted to pick their own partners, this was a huge step because thanks to the established connections towards each other it was evident that people became more competitive to those who've done well so far. This must have something to do with the research I conducted with the emotions of winning and losing.

Once the tournament was over, mostly everyone seemed pleased overall which was great. I asked if everyone would do it again and mostly everyone said they would with the occasional non-enthusiastic 'maybe'. I learnt that fun has a lot to do with the emotion of competitive play, if one does not enjoy losing then they certainly won't feel competitive towards one another and would rather not play at all.

For the younger people this went really well towards the rationale of my project as playing with older people rather than at school with the same age as them has given them a confidence boost. It has also affected how they act towards those older people even though it won't affect how they act to every older person it still helps my project as a whole.

I got everyone to do the survey again before they all went home so I could collect data while everyone still had that confidence and varying feeling inside them. Mostly everyone changed how they view competitive play and want to give these things more of a go with their other friends. Right before everyone left I encouraged everyone to add each other on Facebook and keep in touch because something like this could come up again.

This has answered my research question in many ways, even if their personality hasn't changed they are aware of how competitions can be fun and how positively they can affect how you see others and how it can cause people to strive towards their goals.


Over the course of the semester I have been intrigued about what makes someone who they are, it got me thinking about myself and who I was. For instance, I play a lot of competitive games, but I'm not a very competitive person, at least didn't think I was. After doing some research I learnt how competition can affect one's work output and social life. I delved deeper with the idea of bringing out the competitive part of one's personality.

After doing some more research, topics began to spring up about changing one's personality as a whole and I began to feel a bit sceptical of my power to actually do that. But that's one thing I'm really happy with myself with, even though this doubt could've held me back I still went with this project and ended up learning heaps. I may not have 'changed' any personalities but that wasn't the point, just getting people to be aware of the difference competitions can make and to not look away from it is success with this project outcome.

Throughout the practical part of my project I have witnessed different emotions just like what was mentioned as part of my research, this gave me insight as to what the outcome of this project was going to be like. A couple of people who attended the tournament were from a primary/intermediate school which was great to see how they developed and shared knowledge towards the end of this tournament. This helped contribute tremendously towards the rationale of my project as they were able to acknowledge such methodologies exist and to not be ignored.

According to my proposal, I wanted to target people from Colab, but after careful consideration of the outcome I decided that wouldn't be necessary and instead target social groups that if left alone would never establish connections by themselves. Colab would eventually establish its own connections through upcoming practises in the studio anyway so it was a bit redundant to focus my efforts around that area. Next time I need to consider my target audience more before taking action because I felt I needed to make the target audience easy for me to work with. However, sending off a survey for Colab to do would not have hurt my project what so ever, getting responses from different social groups but then only focusing on specific people would've been a great way to do it as well.

One thing I'm not happy with was the lack of planning into the 'how' of my project, I didn't have a clue how I was going to measure the change in personality until after my proposal was completed. Part of that reason was the doubt I had from the research and was looking to help with someone else's project, so keeping the proposal vague was a really bad idea.


With the theory of Competence Motivation and the theories of emotion we see how emotion can greatly affect players during sport (Brustad 1988). The types of emotion that are present during these games are the thrill of winning or the agony of defeat. This type of emotion can be the source of motivation over a long period of time.

However, with the study of withdrawal from competitive youth sport (Butcher, Lindner, & Johns 2002), we see multiple ways that can cause people to lose that motivation; separate interests in sport being the most common. In a small group of players the major motive for withdrawal was competitive stress, boredom, dislike of coach and lack of playing time. The study also revealed that most of these motives were from the child's individual personalities and reasons for playing sport in the first place.

This can link to educational groups where students in schools are experiencing their pubertal change (Roseth, Johnson T, & Johnson R 2008). With imbalances with their physical health (eg. Hormones) we have students who are most vulnerable (Zehr, Culbert, Sisk, & Klump 2007) when it comes to negative behaviour. During this period of change young adolescents tend to seek social acceptance, thus small groups can be largely affected by being alienated by others, which can cause negative outcomes in the behaviour of the students affected.

Social groups and competition have also been tested (Clippinger, & Williams 2002) by comparing competitive gameplay with the computer as the opponent and a human as an opponent. The tests show that players are a lot more aggressive towards computers being the opponent as opposed to humans. The results show that playing against humans improves the overall behaviour towards success than playing against computers. There is a lot more social interaction when competing against one another which can lead to establishing social networks (Zehr, Culbert, Sisk, & Klump 2007) and overall improving the positive social behaviour.

Competition can also manifest itself through individual achievements (Roseth, Johnson T, & Johnson R 2008), this links back to (Brustad 1988) the study of emotion and motivation that encourages them to meeting goals; can be obtained in the same way as players are motivated to play sport.


Zehr, J. L., Culbert, K. M., Sisk, C. L., & Klump, K. L. (2007). An association of early puberty with disordered eating and anxiety in a population of undergraduate women and men. Hormones and Behavior, 52(4), 427–435.

Brustad, R. J. (1986). Affective outcomes in competitive youth sport the influence of intrapersonal and socialization factors. Portland: Portland State University.

Rogers, C. R. (1954). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Chicago.

Williams, R. B., & Clippinger, C. A. (2002). Aggression, competition and computer games: Computer and human opponents. Computers in Human Behavior, 18(5), 495-506. doi:10.1016/s0747-5632(02)00009-2

Roseth, C. J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2008). Promoting early adolescents' achievement and peer relationships: The effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 223-246. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.134.2.223

Hargreaves, I. S., Pexman, P. M., Zdrazilova, L., & Sargious, P. (2011). How a hobby can shape cognition: Visual word recognition in competitive Scrabble players. Mem Cogn Memory & Cognition, 40(1), 1-7. doi:10.3758/s13421-011-0137-5

Butcher, J., Lindner, K. J., & Johns, D. P. (2002). Withdrawal from competitive youth sport: A retrospective ten-year study [Abstract]. Journal of Sport Behavior, 145-163. Retrieved April 4, 2016, from from Competitive Youth Sport.pdf?token=qBFMP+QGrZKJ3FGdQW11r/W394k=