Ever heard of the gender gap in the world of competitive Scrabble?
A research team from the University of Miami noticed how all of the last ten world champions are (gasps) males! There's even no single woman on the current top 15-rated players. But why is that?
Well, ladies, don't feel too bad. It's not really a matter of innate ability as some people would say. We're just really love to have fun!
"We don't really have a measure of innate ability," says Dr. Jerad Moxley, who co-authored the study. "But it's highly unlikely there's an innate ability difference that's directly affecting Scrabble skill between men and women."
Researchers surveyed the estimated the playing time per week of 255 male and female players at the 2004 and 2008 US National Scrabble tournaments. They were asked to compare the number of times they play alone and they play with a group. The level of enjoyment and difficulty of both in terms of improving their skill set were also asked.
And guess what they found out. Men are more successful in this game because women have better things do. They also recognize Scrabble more of just a fun, enjoyable game to be played with friends!
Because, really, who'd like to endlessly sit and play alone instead of cleaning the house, doing our nails, and moping over the unsuccessful relationship of our favorite celebrity couple? We. have. priorities.
"Men spent more time analyzing their games and reviewing their games, looking at anagrams by themselves," explains Moxley, saying that while men and women had a similar amount of playing time per week, they do it in different ways. "No one really enjoyed the solitary practice, but men hated it less than women did." As for women, they liked better social aspect of Scrabble.
Solo Scrabble practice was also found to be the best predictor of better competitive performance. Hence, the difference in practice method (solo vs social) could be the underlying reason for men's reign on Scrabble competitions.
"Men are rewarded more for competitiveness and competitiveness is viewed as a masculine trait," Moxley told Broadly. "So this could be explained by gender socialization theory [the idea men and women are conditioned by birth to behave differently]."
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