Wednesday, February 15, 2012
A Counterexample to the N-effect
According to the reading about the N-effect, people actually feel less competitive when they are competing against more people. The reading quiz for this got me thinking when it asked how we could motivate students to be more competitive, which according to the reading, would be to reduce class sizes. After this reading, I started to reflect back on how competitive I felt in all of my classes, and then compared the competitiveness and class sizes. I came to the realization that I, personally, actually experience the opposite of the N-effect. In my large lecture classes, I actually feel more competitive and am more motivated to study because I am competing and comparing myself against more people; I feel a stronger need to push myself to do well because there are more people that can outcompete me and I therefore need to get an even higher score on an exam or a paper in order to be closer to the top of the class. In my smaller seminar classes, I actually felt less competitive because the number of students that I am competing against to do well is smaller, so there is actually less motivation for me to compete because I need to do less work in order to stand out and do well; there are less people who can outcompete me. can, however, see how the N-effect can be prevalent in these classes. In large lectures students who are not incredibily smart may feel that they will just end up in the middle of the pack anyway. In smaller classes, competition can be increased because just as it is easier to stand out at the top in a smaller class, it is also easier to stand out at the bottom, and most people do not want to be seen as one of the worst students in his or her class. In my situation, however, I find that when comparing smaller and larger classes, I feel more competitive in the larger ones. I am not significantly less motivated to compete in smaller classes, but the difference is noticable.