People Prefer Seeing Individuals Excel Over Teams, New Study Finds

A new study by researchers at OSU found that people like to see talented people excel, whether in sports or business. They like an individual’s winning streak. But don’t care to see that happen with teams or groups.

People would love to see Usain Bolt win another gold medal but far fewer are interested in seeing the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl, researchers said.

Researchers stated the reason for the phenomenon is that people are inspired by extraordinary individual success in a way team success doesn’t. If Usain Bolt wins another gold medal (and another in a row) it expands what we considered to be the limit of human ability. We do not see team success in the same light. The study found people are simply more moved by individual success.

In one part of the study many more people were excited bout Bolt’s winning a third in a row gold medal in the 100-meter dash than they were by his shared gold medal on the 4×100-meter relay team. Result also showed people would rather see him win a forth gold medal on his own rather than as part of a team.

In one study, they examined people’s views on the success of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who won the 100-meter dash in the last three Olympics. Bolt was also a member of a team that won the gold medal in the 4×100-meter relay at those same Olympic games.

The study was published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”