Subproject C

Alain Quiamzade, University of Geneva and Distance Learning University of Switzerland

Identity stakes in confrontations between competent peers: the role of attribution processes and hindrance behaviour

Subproject C mainly articulates the intra- and inter-individual processes at work in confrontations between competent peers, with the hypothesis that shared high competence may induce a competence threat. Competence is an important element to define the self. When one has reached some competence, it may be highly threatening to lose it. When people are distinguished on the basis of their competence, the selection process implies to have superior competence in the struggle for competence with similar peers. This is a permanent interpersonal process of competition with others to stay competent: competence is built on relative comparison requiring a difference between self and others. A way to allow affirming self-competence is to boost the self above others; another path is to select others out. The subproject comprises two complementary parts. Part A considers hindrance of peers’ performance in conflict of competences as a self-enhancement strategy through active social comparison, namely hindering others’ success. Part B considers the attribution process that is supposed to be at work. Such dynamics are relevant in educational settings where performance goals (trying to outperform other students) are induced by selection and create interpersonal regulations that have deleterious effects on cooperation.

The full project can be obtained by contacting Alain Quiamzade.


Reni Antanassov