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Gender Differences in Cooperation and Competition The Male-Warrior Hypothesis Written by Mark Van Vugt, David De Cremer & Dirk P. Janssen University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Differences in Cooperation and Competition The Male-Warrior Hypothesis Written by Mark Van Vugt, David De Cremer & Dirk P. Janssen University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Differences in Cooperation and Competition The Male-Warrior Hypothesis Written by Mark Van Vugt, David De Cremer & Dirk P. Janssen University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom, and University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands Presentation by Matt Kearns & Megan Dodge

2 “A tribe including many members who, from possessing in high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes, and this would be natural selection.” (Darwin, 1871)

3 Abstract Evolutionary scientists argue that human cooperation is the product of a long history of competition among rival groups. This logic applies particularly to men 3 Experiments - using a step-level public goods task Findings – men contributed more to their group if their group was competing with other groups than if there was no intergroup competition Female cooperation was relatively unaffected by intergroup competition Findings suggest that men respond more strongly than women to intergroup threats.

4 Introduction Evolutionary minded social scientists assert that human altruism and cooperation are the result of the species’ unique history of intergroup conflict and warfare. Humans spontaneously make “us versus them” categorizations and quickly develop deep emotional attachments to groups. Humans also readily discriminate against members of out- groups and engage in costly altruistic actions to defend their group.

5 Introduction Men are more likely than women to engage in intergroup rivalry because for them the benefits (access to mates/prestige) sometimes outweigh the costs. In traditional societies tribal warfare is almost exclusively the domain of men and male warriors have more sexual partners and greater status within their community than other men. U.S. male street gang members have above average mating opportunities. Women are more interpersonally oriented, men are more group oriented. Men recall group events better than women and men engage more frequently in competitive between-group interactions.

6 The Male Warrior Hypothesis: An ancestral history of frequent and violent intergroup conflict has shaped the social psychology and behavior of men in particular and men’s behaviors and cognitions are more intergroup oriented than women’s. Researchers used a social dilemma task in 3 experiments to test their hypothesis. Prediction: Men increase their altruistic group contributions during intergroup competition more than women.

7 Experiment I Participants 120 undergraduate students at the University of Southampton, England, participated in this experiment. 33% Men 67% Women

8 Experiment I Design & Procedure Participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions A individual or group (competitive) condition Each participant was placed in front of a computer in a separate cubicle, and all instructions were administered via the computer. Each member of the group received an endowment of $4, which could be kept for him-or-herself or invested in the group, but not divided between the two options. If the group as a whole contributed $16 or more to the group fund (i.e., if at least 4 of 6 members contributed their $4), then each group member would receive $4, regardless of whether he or she made a contribution. But if the group failed to contribute $16, no bonuses were given out, and only the contributors would lose their investment.

9 Experiment I Design & Procedure Participants were told that the study was running simultaneously at 10 different universities in England. In the “group condition”, the instructions said that the study was investigating how well student groups at these different universities performed the task relative to one another. In the individual condition, the participants also were told about these other participating universities, but the study was described as investigating how well students individually performed in such tasks. After receiving this information, participants decided whether or not to invest their $4 in the group. They were then debriefed, paid, and thanked for their efforts.

10 Experiment I Results As predicted by the hypothesis, the men contributed more often in the group condition than in the individual condition. The overall percentage of female contributors was lower in the group condition

11 Experiment II Participants 93 undergraduate students at the University of Southampton participated in this experiment. 46% Men 54% Women

12 Experiment II Design & Procedure The procedures and instructions were essentially the same as in the previous experiment, with the following exceptions; Each group member was given an endowment of $6, any amount of which could be invested in the group. The public good (a bonus of $10 for each member, regardless of his or her contribution) was provided if the group investments exceeded $24.

13 Experiment II Results As predicted, men contributed more in the group (competitive) condition than in the individual condition. For women, there was no difference between the group condition and the individual condition.

14 Experiment III Participants 93 undergraduate students at the University of Southampton 53% Men 47% Women

15 Experiment III Design & Procedure Competition manipulation was the same as in the previous experiments. The only real difference with this 3rd experiment is Participants also answered a post experiment questionnaire with five questions about their group identification (e.g., ‘‘I identify with the group I am in’’) responding to each on a scale from 1, not at all, to 9, very strongly

16 Experiment III Results Women overall contributing more than men with no real difference between conditions. But men stayed consistent with contributing more in the group condition. As predicted Me also Identify much more with the group than women. Men Women

17 Summary of Results Results show that men identify and cooperate more with their group under conditions of intergroup threat compared to no threat. Women’s cooperation is largely unaffected by intergroup threat. The researcher believes this supports the male- warrior hypothesis.

18 Discussion Further research should address various implications of the male- warrior hypothesis. People should assign more weight to “intergroup” personality traits such as physical ability, fighting prowess, bravery, courage, and heroism when evaluating men than when evaluating women. Status in a group and, perhaps, attractiveness as a mate should be more strongly associated with contributions to intergroup activities for men than for women. Men should also generally be more interested than women in what might be considered intergroup hobbies and professions like playing team sports, watching war movies, and joining the military.

19 Discussion Women, on average, contributed more to the group across 3 experiments Women are not completely insensitive to intergroup conflict Male intergroup adaptations and traits are likely to be reinforced through cultural processes (ex. childhood socialization) Women’s social psychology is likely to be shaped more strongly by different kinds of needs (ex. defending offspring, creating supportive social networks)

20 Discussion Limitations intrinsic to experimental public-goods research: Payoffs in experiments were not substantial – don’t know if men in reality would be willing to take huge risks to defend their group Intergroup competition in the experiments was merely symbolic and groups were not competing with each other for a tangible reward All participants were college students

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