America: which is more fun to pick silver or copper?Can you guess what…

Reference news network reported on February 20 American time magazine website published on February 10, entitled “why Olympic bronze medalist happier than silver medallists,” the article, the author is professor of economics at the university of Chicago John lister, the article said, in humans, the loss of pain psychologically is stronger than the same sense of harvest.In a landmark 1995 study, psychologists Victoria Medvez, S. F. Maday, and Thomas Gilovich reported that, overall, bronze medalists were significantly happier than the silver medalists who beat them.We’ve already seen that at this year’s Winter Olympics: gold medalist Gu Ailing and bronze medalist Mathilde Gremaud comforting silver medalist Tess Ludd after the women’s freestyle big jump final.Medveitz and others argue that bronze medalists seem happier than second-place medalists because the silver medalist’s easiest counterfactual (or alternative) outcome is gold;By contrast, the easiest alternative to a bronze medalist would be to win no MEDALS at all.In other words, perspective is everything — except that we don’t always realize in which direction our perspective is pointing.As a behavioural economist, I have found in many experiments that the influence of different psychological perspectives plays a key role.The scientists say this finding requires us to build a “choice architecture” to get an outcome that everyone is happy with.When studying incentives, I often compare the effectiveness of a loss frame with a gain frame.For example, in a recent study, we assigned a group of teachers to the “earnings group,” giving them a bonus at the end of the school year if their students’ test scores reached a certain standard.In contrast, the other “loss group” received bonuses at the beginning of the school year on the condition that they refund the money if students’ scores fell below a certain threshold.We call this restitution.Want to know which group of teachers had better student scores?The students in the “loss group”.The teachers are unwilling to return the bonuses they have received.The basis for this behavior is an active field of research, but one explanation is quite simple.For humans, the pain of loss is psychologically stronger than the same intensity of gain.In evolutionary terms, the reason we developed this psychological asymmetry is fairly simple.When our species was struggling to survive in the wilderness 100,000 years ago, getting a little extra food would have made tomorrow a lot easier.But the loss of our only food means there is no tomorrow.The potential stakes of losses are greater than the stakes of gains, so we become very sensitive to them and try to avoid them at all costs.This is known as the endowment effect, also known as aversion to deprivation.Now let’s take a look at the grimacing silver medalists and smiling bronze medalists that have been all over our TV screens this month.Clearly, bronze medalists are likely to view their performance through a gain framework (they won bronze, not fourth place), while silver medalists are likely to view their performance through a loss framework — they didn’t win the championship.So how can we use this behavioral lens to solve the athletes’ dilemma?What should they do?Again, it comes down to incentives.I have two suggestions.First, if silver medalists want to feel happier, they should compare their prize with a lower rank, not with a higher one.Similarly, athletes should think of the counterfactual world as “I don’t have any Olympic MEDALS at the moment, so just getting a card is a pleasant surprise.”These two tips keep athletes firmly in “gain” territory and psychologically out of “loss” territory, because there is nothing to lose.So what if the “I’m here to win” strategy doesn’t work?The second approach comes not from studying behavior, but from looking directly at the central decision-making center, the brain.We conducted our research using functional magnetic resonance imaging, which scans the brains of traders who buy and sell commodities.When these traders were inexperienced, they were very afraid of losing money.But we found that when a trader experienced giving up something — that is, from gold to silver — and then suffered a loss, activity in the right anterior insula decreased.This means that, with experience, traders learn to process losses in a different part of the brain, which weakens their perception of losses.One implication of this study, combined with other studies, is that losses are not as painful as athletes might expect.Now, all that’s left is a little more game theory: at the start of a game, athletes need to “reverse induction,” which means believing that even if things don’t go well, the pain won’t be as bad as they think.

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