The Disappointment of Second Place

<p>Psychologists have figured out why Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin looked so frustrated last night after she won a silver medal. Her reaction was typical of silver medalists, who are often more disappointed than the athletes who win bronze medals. <a title=”According to the <I>Boston Globe</I>” href=”http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/08/17/uncommon_knowledge/?page=2″ target=”_blank”>According to the <i>Boston Globe</i>
</a>, “close-call counterfactuals” explain the disappointment of second place: Silver medal winners, like Liukin, focused on how close they came to the gold, while bronze winners focused on how close they came to not winning a medal. Studies have also found that media expectations and performance in qualifying rounds, were determining factors in the athletes’ emotions.</p>

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