"The psychology of zero-sum thinking"
Political, professional, and interpersonal conflicts are exacerbated by zero-sum thinking: the belief that one party’s gains can only be obtained at another party’s expense. Yet, despite the potentially destructive implications of this antagonistic thinking pattern, little is known about when and why people view life as zero-sum. In this talk, I will review the nascent literature on zero-sum thinking. First, I will present my research linking political ideology and zero-sum thinking. Next, I will present a surprising asymmetry in zero-sum thinking, showing that people believe that others gain at their expense, but that their own success doesn’t necessarily come at other parties’ expense. Finally, I will discuss some potential implications of zero-sum thinking.