THE EXPERIENCE OF THE UNEXPECTED

We back the likely loser. Our affection for the losing team is due to our desire to attain maximum pleasure and excitement. One gets maximum excitement, as a spectator, when two equal teams are playing against each other. One doesn't get similar excitement if one team is much inferior. The missing excitement can be found if the weak team wins. We love the experience of unexpected excitement. There isn't much excitement when the stronger of the two teams wins. If you multiply the odds of an underdog's victory by the amount of pleasure it would produce, you would end up with a greater number, writes Daniel Enaber. When you back an underdog, your action seems more virtuous and appealing. Malcolm Gladwell says that Davids win when they choose not to play by the rules set by Goliaths. "Our affinity for the lesser team is a mile wide and an inch deep," is what researchers say.

We feel morally good when we root for the underdog but at an unconscious level we don't take the underdog all that seriously, writes Scott Allison. Sympathy for the less fortunate is good. Too much sympathy, however, destroys self-reliance and encourages dependency. It is said that misguided compassion hurts. Doing well for the needy is a good idea, but the way of doing matters. Benjamin Franklin said, "I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and, of course, became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." Overdoing charity can be bothersome. It takes away the initiative, self-confidence and responsibility from the people. If we do that the beneficiaries of charity become favour-seekers, rather than claimants of something they deserve. Some thinkers believe foreign aid is a vicious way to pauperise the already poor.