Friday, July 10, 2009

New Study on Gender and Chess

Most interesting! Thanks to Allen Becker of Southwest Chess Club for giving me a heads-up on this article this afternoon. European Journal of Social Psychology Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 38, 231–245 (2008) Published online 14 May 2007 in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.440 Checkmate? The role of gender stereotypes in the ultimate intellectual sport ANNE MAASS*, CLAUDIO D’ETTOLE AND MARA CADINU University of Padova, Italy Abstract Women are surprisingly underrepresented in the chess world, representing less that 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world’s grand masters. In this paper it is argued that gender stereotypes are mainly responsible for the underperformance of women in chess. Forty-two male–female pairs, matched for ability, played two chess games via Internet. When players were unaware of the sex of opponent (control condition), females played approximately as well as males. When the gender stereotype was activated (experimental condition), women showed a drastic performance drop, but only when they were aware that they were playing against a male opponent. When they (falsely) believed to be playing against a woman, they performed as well as their male opponents. In addition, our findings suggest that women show lower chess-specific self-esteem and a weaker promotion focus, which are predictive of poorer chess performance. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

1 comment:

LivelyClamor said...

In the early 1970s I was on a high school chess team along with my buddy. Two girls in one school and the only girls in the entire region. She made it to second board. I plugged away gamely somewhere between fourth and fifth. The boys were actually flustered at playing girls at first which gave us the advantage in the first year. Then I suspect hormones or some such thing kicked in and gave them the advantage the second year. But by that time three more girls had joined our team.

I wound up with other priorities in life after that, though not the "Standard Female" ones. Chess isn't a major part of my life now though I still play, some. But it was a wonderful and fascinating experience.

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