Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Medals and Happiness

Tonight Canada won two medals in Women's Bobsled, silver and gold. I can't imagine how exciting it must be win a medal in front of the world. Which makes one wonder; is an Olympian happier if they win Silver as opposed to Bronze? Well it turns out someone else was asking this question and apparently Bronze medal winning Olympians are actually the happier (on average) then silver medalists!

US academics at Cornell discovered the surprising truth while doing research during the '92 Olympics. It goes to show how important our desires and expectations are when it comes to winning. And how weak our human nature is.


Anonymous said...

It also makes a difference in team sports when usually ( I think ) you can WIN a bronze but have to LOSE to get silver.

Keith F

Jay Boaz said...

Keith nails it, the reason Silver is less popular is because in a team sport you have to lose the championship game, while to get bronze you win the consolation final.

In individual sports, you're really competing against yourself, so you win Silver as opposed to losing Gold.

You left out that we won another silver and a bronze yesterday too! :)