Evolutionary Psychology explains why men are better at Scrabble

For a quarter-century, women have outnumbered men at Scrabble clubs and tournaments in America, but a woman has won the national championship only once, and all the world champions have been men. Among the world’s 50 top-ranked players, typically about 45 are men.

The top players, both male and female, point to a simple explanation for the disparity: more men are willing to do whatever it takes to reach the top. You need more than intelligence and a good vocabulary to become champion. You have to spend hours a day learning words like ‘khat,’ doing computerised drills and memorising long lists of letter combinations, called alphagrams, that can form high-scoring seven-letter words.

. . .

The guys who memorise these lists have a hard time explaining their passion. But the evolutionary roots of it seem clear to anthropologists like Helen Fisher of Rutgers University.

‘Evolution has selected for men with a taste for risking everything to get to the top of the hierarchy,’ she said, ‘because those males get more reproductive opportunities, not only among primates but also among human beings. Women don’t get as big a reproductive payoff by reaching the top. They’re just as competitive with themselves – they want to do a good job just as much as men do – but men want to be more competitive with others.'”

From New York Times

Images from Adverblog

One thought on “Evolutionary Psychology explains why men are better at Scrabble

  1. Graham says:

    “Evolution has selected for men with a taste for risking everything to get to the top of the hierarchy,’ she said, ‘because those males get more reproductive opportunities, not only among primates but also among human beings.”

    OK, but I haven’t seen too many human groupies hanging around outside Scrabble tournaments hoping to “get to know” the winner, so it must just be the orang-utans and barbary apes that motivate the top players.

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