Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Stereotype threat has been examined in numerous areas of performance, including entrepreneurial intentions, negotiation, math, and chess (Gupta, Turban, & Bhawe, 2008; Kray, Thompson, & Galinsky, 2001; Maass, D’Ettole, & Cadinu, 2008; Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999). Women who identify more strongly with their gender are also more vulnerable to stereotype threat (Schmader, 2002). The masculine stereotype includes such qualities as aggressiveness and risk-taking, and the feminine stereotype includes qualities such as cooperating and nurturing (Best, Williams, & Briggs, 1980; Gupta et al., 2008; Kray et al., 2001). Men tend to play competitive interactive games, particularly complex board games and table-top games, more often than women and are believed to be superior players, possibly because the feminine stereotype excludes qualities that are considered essential for gameplay. Nevertheless, in some games (particularly video game role playing games), women have been found to be superior players to men by many measures (Williams, Consalvo, Caplan, & Yee, 2009). Studies of social games show that women are more cooperative than men in mixed-sex groups, but less in same-sex groups (Balliet, Li, Macfarlan, & Van Vugt, 2011). In the present study, women were expected to manifest stereotypical gender qualities with higher frequency during a complex board game played with both men and women than during a game played with only members of their own gender, and to do so to a greater extent the more they self-identified as feminine according to the PAQ. Women in mixed-sex groups were actually found to perform less feminine actions and more masculine actions relative to women who played in all-female groups. A significant correlation was found between PAQ femininity and the relative number of feminine-typed actions taken during the game. No evidence of stereotype threat was found, but there were signs that some type of gender-based interference occurred during the games, causing women to behave differently according to their group type.

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type



© 2014 Phillip Paul Robbins


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