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Game of words: Men better at Scrabble because women think it’s pointless

According to a new study, men are better at playing Scrabble, because women are far less willing to waste time developing a skill that they consider pointless.

more lifestyle Updated: Sep 07, 2017 14:14 IST
Despite the female participation, the upper divisions of Scrabble competitions are dominated by men.
Despite the female participation, the upper divisions of Scrabble competitions are dominated by men. (Shutterstock)

Men are better at playing the popular word puzzle called Scrabble, because women are far less willing to waste time developing a skill that they consider pointless, a study suggests.

In Scrabble competitions, there are slightly more women than men as compared to games such as chess where there is extremely low female participation resulting in male dominance. Despite the female participation, the upper divisions of Scrabble competitions are dominated by men and the past ten world champions have all been men.

Researchers from University of Miami in the US asked almost 300 participants about their practice habits, then examined this alongside their game ratings and found that women significantly underperformed, ‘The Times’ reported. “This was interesting. It is not intuitively obvious why there should be a gender difference in Scrabble,” said Jerad Moxley, from the University of Miami.

Researchers found that women were spending more time actually playing Scrabble, an activity that is fun but, in terms of building skills, inefficient. They treated it like an enjoyable pastime where the objective was to be happy, researchers said. However, men took a different approach. Rather than getting together with friends for a pleasant game, they spent their time consciously analysing past games and practising their anagrams.

“It is not an innate difference in talent, it is just that women are far less willing to waste their time honing a largely pointless skill,” researchers said. “There is not a lot of money in Scrabble; it is not like chess. So why would you even want to be the best Scrabble player in the world? You could argue it does not make sense,” Moxley said. The study was published in the journal Psychological Research.

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