Behind A Diagnosis of March Madness

The Wall Street Journal:

From the point of view of a non-sports-fan, March Madness looks like the month when many people actually go mad. Fans parade by in crazy hats and face paint. You go to a nice cafe for lunch and some other diner screams “Go Orange!” for Syracuse University—and instead of getting escorted from the premises is joined by a dozen other fans who look up and chant in unison, “Go Orange!” Strangers on the street ask what you think about something called Florida Gulf Coast University. As the comedian Michael Ian Black wrote last week on Twitter, March Madness “is the time of year when I don’t understand anything that’s happening in my country.”

But sports fandom shares crucial features of an interpersonal relationship, says State University of New York Stony Brook psychologist Arthur Aron. It involves, he says, the “inclusion of the other in the self.” In intimate relationships, this means that the other person’s triumphs and failures become your triumphs and failures. Psychologists call this blending of minds “self expansion.”

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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