The Primordial Cheer

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A new study says that our reactions to winning are a genetic remnant from our primate ancestors. Jessica Tracy, Psychology Professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the report talks about its findings.


Jessica Tracy

Comments [6]


you're right, I never made that gesture until I observed it, tho I wonder if, as women, we were picking up on more subtle clues that demanded quiet behavior and quiet gestures? Which came first - the urge to stifle what may or may not be a "hard-wired" behavior - or the learned behavior?
But you have a good point that there's too much research claiming this or that is "hard-wired." I think it's an offshoot of having the first sequencing of DNA - everyone wants to trace everything back to something tangible and inherent, as opposed to more confusing external cues.

Aug. 14 2008 12:58 PM
a woman from manhattan

This is utter nonsense! In an age when everyone has TV and people have instructors (even the blind) lifting their arms for them in victory, you're going to try and tell me this isn't learned behavior?

I never made that gesture till I observed it in sports, myself. I imitated. It did not come to me naturally.

What's the deal lately? So many people seem to be trying to prove that stuff is "hard-wired" into humans these days, it's looking really fishy.

Are we trying to establish a version of "normal" behavior by proving certain things are "hard-wired"? This is kind of insidious.

Aug. 14 2008 12:02 PM

ok, ab, I'll admit: I thought it was interesting that even the congenitally blind athletes do the same thing. That is, the response is coded pretty deeply into our behavior. And I feel less embarrassed by our winning athletes strutting around if such behavior is THAT deeply embedded.

Aug. 14 2008 12:01 PM

Ummmm...we needed a study to tell us this? REALLY???????????

Aug. 14 2008 11:56 AM

Maybe the reaction to winning in the Olympics has changed because of the increasingly corporatized incentives and pressure. Ditto the doping. Every Olympics the swimmers look a little different, i.e. longer and leaner and more dramatically gigantic shoulders - a lot of that seems entirely legitiimate - given the changes in training, their bodies should look different as the training changes. But this year, they look superhuman, and I'm not talking about Phelps. It's the entire group, overall. What's UP?

Aug. 14 2008 11:37 AM
michaelw from INWOOD

It's a good thing Phelps is white because if he was black and we were comparing his reaction to winning to Apes there would be riots in the street.

Aug. 14 2008 10:13 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.