February 22, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number, Silver is the Saddest Medal

If you can't win gold, go for bronze:
"On average, bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists," said Victoria Medvec, a psychologist and professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Managementv in Illinois.

The phenomenon is a case of counterfactual thinking - thoughts about "what might have been," she explained.

Third-place winners have upward thoughts ("at least I won") that increase satisfaction, researchers have found, whereas those who come in second tend to have downward "if only" thoughts that decrease happiness.

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