Who will win the competition? The relationship between personality, strategy and success in a competitive situation  

Czibor A., Bereczkei T.
First author's affiliation: University of Pécs, Institute of Psychology, Pécs, Hungary

Identifying the personality factors which can influence individual’s decisions in a competitive situation is a crucial dilemma on different fields of psychology. From the evolutional perspective, the goods gained in the competition can increase the individual’s prospect for surviving and mating, resulting in a higher genetic representation in the next generations. Our aim was to investigate, how personality traits, conflict solving methods, and Machiavellianism influence the benefits earned and strategies applied to a competitive game that was played for real money. In the experimental settings university students played the public goods game transformed to a competitive situation. Winners were expected to behave on a self-interest manner, so they do not significantly contribute to the collective property. In order to obtain information about the subjects’ personality and character profiles and their typical conflict solving strategies we used Temperament and Character Inventory by Cloninger, the Thomas-Killman Conflict Mode Inventory, and additionally the Mach IV. Test. The scores of competitive conflict-solving strategy showed significant negative correlation with the amount of individual contributions in the first round of the game, whereas the high Avoidance scores were positively associated with a higher contribution in the middle of the game. The amount of benefit individuals gained showed differences between the two sexes, and negatively correlated with the Reward Dependence. High-Mach persons were likely to gain higher benefit than low-Machs, although the difference did not reach the level of significance. In the light of the participants’ answers to the experimenter’s questions at the end of the game, participants could be classified into individually-oriented and group-oriented players. These attitudes had a remarkable effect on the participants’ decisions on the game strategy, and the amount of benefit they gained.