Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Success breeds success, study confirms

Date:
April 28, 2014
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
In a study that uses website-based experiments to uncover whether “success breeds success” is a reality, researchers found that early success bestowed on individuals produced significant increases in subsequent rates of success. The findings suggest that early success that is not based on merit may produce inequality in achievement among similarly qualified individuals. But the study also found that greater amounts of initial success failed to produce greater subsequent success.

Arnout van de Rijt, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science at Stony Brook University.
Credit: Image courtesy of Stony Brook University

In a Stony Brook University-led study that uses website-based experiments to uncover whether the age-old adage that "success breeds success" is a reality, researchers found that early success bestowed on individuals produced significant increases in subsequent rates of success, in comparison to non-recipients of success. The findings, to be published early online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation and by a SEED grant from Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory, suggest that early success that is not based on merit may produce inequality in achievement among similarly qualified individuals. But the study also found that greater amounts of initial success failed to produce greater subsequent success.

Related Articles


In the paper, titled "Field experiments of success-breeds-success dynamics," lead author Arnout van de Rijt, an Associate Professor in Stony Brook University's Department of Sociology and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science (IACS), and colleagues created an experimental design using real-world social settings online to investigate success accumulation. They tested the success-breeds-success hypothesis by allocating "successes" to individuals in a randomized fashion.

In one scenario, they provided funding to proposed ventures, in another awards to under-appreciated volunteers, in another endorsements of product reviews, and in yet another signatures of support to social or political campaigns.

"In each scenario, we found that early success led to more successes," said van de Rijt. "However, larger rewards bestowed by our experimentation did not proportionally increase the level of later success. This suggests that a modest initial success may be sufficient to trigger a self-propelling cascade of success in various success-breeds-success scenarios. It also suggests that philanthropists may maximize impact by granting smaller initial donations to numerous groups rather than a large donation to a single group."

Overall, the authors reported that individuals given early support were 9 to 31 percent more likely than individuals who did not receive early support to receive follow-up support from other individuals, whether that meant for funding, an award, product endorsement, or signatures of support.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. van de Rijt, S. M. Kang, M. Restivo, A. Patil. Field experiments of success-breeds-success dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1316836111

Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "Success breeds success, study confirms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428154838.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2014, April 28). Success breeds success, study confirms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428154838.htm
Stony Brook University. "Success breeds success, study confirms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140428154838.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

Police Swoop on 80 Airports in Global Ticket Fraud Crackdown

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) Police have arrested 118 people in an unprecedented globally-coordinated swoop on plane ticket credit card fraud, a billion-dollar organised crime industry, officials said Friday. Duration: 01:03 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins