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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Two experiments using a total of seventy-two undergraduate students from General Psychology courses were performed to test the hypothesis that a sex-role difference in performance occurs during two-person conflict situations in which one of the players possesses a distinct advantage as to possible rewards. The conflict situation was accomplished by having two subjects of the same sex play one of six different two-person, non-zero-sum, asymmetrical games. While both subjects thought that they were playing each other, they were in reality playing a pre-established pattern of responses that were relayed to them by the experimenter. This pattern gradually underwent change from being mainly cooperative, to mainly uncooperative. In the first experiment nine pairs of male subjects and nine pairs of female subjects took part in one of three games. The games were constructed so that the subject who played from a row position would always receive a higher payoff. In this experiment both players could determine to some extent the other person’s payoff as well as be able to exert some control over their own reward structure. Females, in this experiment, were found to give significantly higher numbers of cooperative responses than males. In the second experiment nine pairs of male subjects and nine pairs of female subjects took part in one of three games that were similar to those used in the first experiment but with the exception that one of the players no longer possessed any control over the amount of payoff that he could receive. In this experiment subjects who possessed no control over their own rewards gave significantly higher numbers of cooperative responses than did their opponents.
Copyright 1966 James Pierce Boyle
Boyle, James Pierce, "Sex-Role Behavior in Differential Power Positions" (1966). Master's Theses. 964.