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Mentality of Cheating

For those who haven't heard, US Major League Baseball is in the midst of a major cheating scandal.  At least four people have lost prominent jobs, and one club so far has been fined the maximum amount and lost draft picks.  (A second club is sure to follow.)

Tara Sullivan, a sports columnist for a major regional newspaper The Boston Globe, wrote an article entitled "Why do some in sports feel the need to cheat?"  Some of the ideas seem relevant to bridge and seem to me to explain a lot.  The article is at

(I think the link bypasses the paywall.  Apologies if not.)

A book mentioned in the article is described at

Some key quotes from the Globe article:

“Winning. It all comes down to winning,” Dr. Eric Bean wrote in an e-mail interview with the Globe. Bean is a certified mental performance consultant and executive board member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. “There is a long, rich, and complicated history of cheating in sports and it mostly stems from the emphasis sport and culture put on winning. Athletes who are largely ego-oriented [that is, focused on being better than everyone else] are more likely to have lower sportpersonship, cheat, and endorse cheating as compared to athletes who are more task-oriented [focused on self-development and mastery].”

“In sport psychology, there is a concept called bracketed morality, which is the suspension of ethics or morality during competition,” Bean explained.

...Like a game of cat and mouse, the cheaters try to stay ahead of the watchers, while the watchers try to catch the cheaters. For some perpetrators, that game can be as addicting as the one they’re meant to be playing.

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