Report Trash talking your opponent increases their effort to invest in beating you; lowers their creativity

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Trash-talking increases the psychological stakes of competition and motivates targets to outperform their opponents.

    In Studies 1 and 2, participants in a competition who were targets of trash-talking outperformed participants who faced the same economic incentives, but were not targets of trash-talking. Perceptions of rivalry mediate the relationship between trash-talking and effort-based performance.

    In Study 3, we find that targets of trash-talking were particularly motivated to punish their opponents and see them lose.

    In Study 4, we identify a boundary condition, and show that trash-talking increases effort in competitive interactions, but incivility decreases effort in cooperative interactions.

    In Study 5, we find that targets of trash-talking were more likely to cheat in a competition than were participants who received neutral messages. In Study 6, we demonstrate that trash-talking harms performance when the performance task involves creativity.

    Taken together, our findings reveal that trash-talking is a common workplace behavior that can foster rivalry and motivate both constructive and destructive behavior.

    Trash-talking changes competitive behavior. Across a pilot study and six experiments, we demonstrate that trash-talking motivates targets in ways that people fail to forecast. In effort-based tasks, competitors who received trash-talking messages outperformed those who received neutral messages.

    We find that trash-talking triggers perceptions of rivalry, and that perceptions of rivalry mediate the relationship between trash-talking and effort-based performance. We also find that targets of trash-talking derive psychic benefits from defeating trash-talking opponents, independent of the economic outcomes. Competitors are keen to see their trash-talking opponent lose, even at the expense of maximizing their own outcomes. We integrate our findings with prior incivility research and find that trash-talking promotes effort-based performance in competitive settings, but incivility harms effort-based performance in cooperative settings. The motivational effects of trash-talking, however, extend to cheating.

    Targets of trash-talking were more likely to cheat in a competition than were participants who received neutral messages. That is, not only are targets of trash-talking motivated to exert greater constructive effort, but they are also more likely to exploit opportunities to engage in unethical behavior.

    Finally, we identify a domain of performance that suffers when individuals are targets of trash-talking: creativity. We demonstrate that trash-talking harms creative performance.


    Read more here. (Science Direct)
     

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