Zero sum bias

Belief that your situation is a zero sum situation and competing - even when there are unlimited resources.


Studying in class - there is no need to compete with fellow students.


A plausible explanation is that a zero-sum heuristic evolved as a cognitive adaptation to enable successful intra-group competition for limited resources.


Social scientists suspect that zero-sum thinking is the basis of psychological barriers to inter-group interaction. For example, economists blame zero-sum intuitions for public resistance to free trade because people find it hard to comprehend how both trading partners could gain, even though win–win scenarios are a common consequence of trade.