Brain on Sports Podcast: How important are rivalries in sports?

Monday July 20th, 2015

“This is Your Brain on Sports," is a new podcast from Sports Illustrated in which SI executive editor Jon Wertheim and Tufts University psychology professor Sam Sommers look at the hidden side of games, athletes, fans, owners and officials. This week's episode examines the concept of rivalries—the importance of these opponents in sports, how rivals affect competition and if rivalries are helpful or harmful in athletics and in everyday life.

Wertheim and Sommers discuss the definition of rivalries, partly based on a study led by New York University Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations Gavin Kilduff, titled "The psychology of rivalry: a relationally dependent analysis of competition," which investigates the idea that teams’ similarity and histories can predict rivalry, and that rivalry may affect athletes’ motivation and performance. Can a person have an unrequited rival? Or are rivalries actually quite symmetrical? 

Listen below or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and check back every week for a new episode.

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