... who do you think is happier, an athlete who wins a silver medal in the Olympics (second place) or an athlete who wins a bronze medal (third place)? It seems obvious that second is better than third, so silver medalists should be happier than bronze medalists. But this turns out, on average, not to be true. Bronze medalists are happier than silver medalists. As the sil|ver medalists stand on the award platform, they're thinking about how close they came to winning the gold. Just a little more of this, and a little less of that, and ultimate glory would have been theirs. As the bronze medalists stand on that platform, however, they're thinking how close <i>they</i> came to getting no medal at all. The near miss of the silver medalists is triumph, whereas the near miss of the bronze medalists is also-rain obscurity.