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Sex Differences in Intellectual Performance Analysis of a Large Cohort of Competitive Chess Players

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Abstract

Only 1% of the world's chess grandmasters are women. This underrepresentation is unlikely to be caused by discrimination, because chess ratings objectively reflect competitive results. Using data on the ratings of more than 250,000 tournament players over 13 years, we investigated several potential explanations for the male domination of elite chess. We found that (a) the ratings of men are higher on average than those of women, but no more variable; (b) matched boys and girls improve and drop out at equal rates, but boys begin chess competition in greater numbers and at higher performance levels than girls; and (c) in locales where at least 50% of the new young players are girls, their initial ratings are not lower than those of boys. We conclude that the greater number of men at the highest levels in chess can be explained by the greater number of boys who enter chess at the lowest levels.

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... A core issue within this field is why males achieve higher chess performance than females. Sex differences in Elo ratings have been attributed to different participation rates of males and females in chess (Bilalic & McLeod, 2006;Bilalic, Smallbone, McLeod, & Gobet, 2009;Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Charness & Gerchak, 1996). From this approach, the huge disparity in chess performance between males and females originates in the underrepresentation of women in the domain, thus, higher Elo rating scores arise in the larger population (i.e., men). ...
... Practice activities at early ages, which eventually improve later chess performance, may be equally available to males and females. In contrast, the achievement of the critical period for optimal brain plasticity may occur earlier for females than for males, even though fewer women may enter competitive chess at the lowest rating level, when they are likely to be younger (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). First, we evaluated whether sex differences in Elo ratings were due to different participation rates, or whether it could be attributed to biological or cultural factors. ...
... In contrast, sex differences in Elo ratings were lower when females were around their mid/ late-twenties and had played a number of games above average, which reflects the lower levels of experience and practice in the domain of the youngest players. It is remarkable that within the female participants there were only eight players above thirty years old, which supports the notion of declines in interest and higher female dropout rates from the domain (Chabris & Glickman, 2006;de Bruin et al., 2008;Howard, 2005aHoward, , 2009Roring & Charness, 2007). In addition, the levels of practice were rather low in the older females, with just two of them having played more than ninety games. ...
Article
This study analyzed sex differences in chess Elo ratings with chess tournament data. We evaluated whether sex differences were due to differential participation rates of males and females, and whether age and practice were able to predict differences in chess ability. There were meaningful sex differences in Elo ratings unrelated to different participation rates. Age and practice predicted sex differences in Elo chess ratings for females, but not for males. The findings paralleled those concerning sex differences in cognitive ability research, and supported that biosocial factors (i.e., age and practice) rather than divergences in participation rates of males and females in the domain influenced the extreme sex differences in Elo ratings.
... However, there is an additional explanation stating that stereotypes may affect the quality of chess playing, namely by making women less confident and reducing the likelihood that they will play aggressively (Maass, D'Ettole & Cadinu, 2008). No gender specific differences exist in intellectual performance in humans concerning chess playing despite several opposing opinions (Howard, 2005;Bilalić, Smallbone, McLeod, & Gobet;Chabris & Glickman, 2006). Women chess players represent less than 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world's grandmasters (Maass, et al., 2008). ...
... Women chess players represent less than 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world's grandmasters (Maass, et al., 2008). This underrepresentation of women is unlikely to be caused by discrimination, because chess ratings objectively reflect competitive results (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). Using data on the ratings of more than 250,000 tournament chess players over 13 years it has been established that girls have lower chess ratings than boys and that they are numerically underrepresented among the chess population (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). ...
... This underrepresentation of women is unlikely to be caused by discrimination, because chess ratings objectively reflect competitive results (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). Using data on the ratings of more than 250,000 tournament chess players over 13 years it has been established that girls have lower chess ratings than boys and that they are numerically underrepresented among the chess population (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). It has been hypothesized that women may be less willing to devote their time mono-thematically to chess, leading to higher drop-out rates (Maas et al, 2008), but a recent study conducted in the United States has found equal drop-out rates in matched samples of males and females (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). ...
Article
Women are underrepresented and underperformanced in chess at the top level. An explanation for the small number of female chess players because chess is an intellectually demanding activity would support the view of biological gender differences in intellectual abilities. However, despite different theories, there is no scientific evidence for sex specific intellectual performance differences. Furthermore, memory is heavily implicated in chess performance and is also often used to explain sex differences. Many novel findings are emerging and complementing cognitively-oriented research on chess. Sex stereotypes can have a greatly debilitating effect on female players leading to a sharp decline in performance when competing with males in chess. Women generally score lower than men both on aggressiveness and dominance and at the same time during a chess game, mental fatigue occurs earlier in women. This is usually explained by the fact that in the female body glycogen content is lower compared to males due to hormonal conditions and therefore unable to meet the demands for fast energy. Women also seem disadvantaged because they approach chess competitions with less confidence and with a more cautious attitude than their male counterparts. A motivational perspective may be better suited for understanding the underperformance of women as chess players. Studies of psychology, physiology and biochemistry of chess players should be used to improve the practice and pedagogy for male and female chess players.
... Thus, with reference to Elo (1978), it has become possible to measure skills on objective grounds, i.e. there are no "subjective assessments" (Chabris andGlickman 2006, p. 1040). 4 Also, as argued by different scholars in the field, e.g. ...
... In other words any incentive to invest in chess skills will not be distorted by one's expectations of becoming a victim of (statistical) discrimination. 6 Due to the lack of "old boys' networks" or "gatekeepers to high positions" in chess (Chabris and Glickman, 2006), this will allow us to elucidate some genuine gender differences on risk decision-making. 7 ...
... 6 The prevalence of diverse incentives to invest in human capital following from different prospects of signaling skill and expertise in a statistical discrimination framework has been addressed in numerous studies; see Bjerk (2008) and references given there. 7 Chabris and Glickman (2006), similar as Bilalić et al. (2009), refute the assertion made by Howard (2005) who reads the lack of top-level female chess players as evidence for gender differences in intellectual capacity. ...
Article
This paper aims to measure differences in risk behavior among expert chess players. The study employs a panel data set on international chess with 1.4 million games recorded over a period of 11 years. The structure of the data set allows us to use individual fixed-effect estimations to control for aspects such as innate ability as well as other characteristics of the players. Most notably, the data contains an objective measure of individual playing strength, the so-called Elo rating. In line with previous research, we find that women are more risk-averse than men. A novel finding is that men choose more aggressive strategies when playing against female opponents even though such strategies reduce their winning probability.
... There are two interrelated research questions focusing on the magnitude of the sex differences in chess performance explained by the differential participation rates of men and women, and on whether these differences are uniform across the studied countries. Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Charness & Gerchak, 1996). Nonetheless, only a few studies have addressed this controversy with a prominent amount of players. ...
... Nonetheless, only a few studies have addressed this controversy with a prominent amount of players. A large scale study with over 200,000 US players indicates that the disparity in the participation rates of men and women in chess is due to the greater number of boys entering the domain at the lowest performance level (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). Similarly, a study with German chess players states that the greater number of men over women explains most part of the Elo rating dissimilitude between the best men and women (Bilalic et al., 2009). ...
... Past studies analyzing sex differences in Elo chess ratings attribute the lower chess performance of women in respect to men to different participation rates (Bilalic & McLeod, 2006;Bilalic et al., 2009;Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Charness & Gerchak, 1996), or to biological and cultural factors (Blanch et al., 2015;Howard, 2005Howard, , 2014aKnapp, 2010). The current findings indicate that dissimilar participation rates accounted only partially for sex differences in the Elo ratings across the twenty-four countries, with irregular unexplained gaps between raw differences with differences explained by participation rates, which did not depend on the within country male:female ratio. ...
Article
There is a persistent higher performance of men over women in chess that has been attributed to the disproportioned participation rates of men and women in this domain, but also to biological and cultural factors. This study addresses the disparity between men and women in performance at the expert chess level. Actual sex differences in chess performance were contrasted with differences estimated from the divergent participation rates of men and women chess players from twenty-four countries in the Eurasian region. There was a male advantage in chess performance throughout all countries. Sex differences in chess performance emerged for all the studied countries, with remarkable and highly variable unexplained gaps that were unrelated to the men versus women ratios. The cross-country variability about sex differences in chess performance indicates differences in geographical and cultural factors that might elicit differential participation rates, starting age, and perseverance in the domain for men and women. These differences are also likely to underlie the remarkable disparity in expert chess performance of men and women than only differential participation rates.
... They had on average 1898 ± 177 points (range 1630-2189) and were a couple standard deviations above average players. The female chess players can be assigned to comparable categories as the male players because the male players on average have a few hundred rating points more than females (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). All of our participants were informally asked to fill out the questionnaire during rest periods, when they had enough time. ...
... They were more satisfied with their lifes, displayed higher achievement orientation, and complained less about their physical problems than the normal female population. The reasons for these differences could be the fact that chess is seen as a highly intellectual domain (Newell et al., 1963), traditionally dominated by men (Bilalić, et al., 2009;Chabris & Glickman 2006). For successful female chess players life satisfaction may be even amplified because they are successful in a particularly male dominated domain. ...
Article
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Whereas a lot of studies examine cognitive processes in chess players, personality profiles of elite chess players are still not described well. The aim of this study was to examine personality of strong chess experts and its influence on chess skill. We tested elite male and female chess players with Freiburg Personality Inventory Revised (FPI-R), which also provides population norms for males and females. Elite male players' personality profile did not significantly differ from the population norms. Female players were more satisfied with life, had less physical complaints and higher achievement motivation in comparison with female population norms. Personality was also related with chess skill but showed different patterns in males and females. Stronger male players were more introverted, while we found the opposite pattern in female players. These results indicate that personality plays an important role in the highest level of complex intellectual activities.
... Archives log players' current rating, number of games played in a tournament, gender, age during a tournament, performance in the tournament, and changes in the ratings based on performance. The records provide a huge amount of data across the full range of age and expertise, which in turn enables researchers to investigate influences of age (Roring & Charness, 2007;Vaci, Gula, & Bilalić, 2015), gender differences (Bilalić, Smallbone, McLeod, & Gobet 2009;Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Howard, 2008Howard, , 2009Knapp, 2010), skill acquisition trajectories (Gaschler, Progscha, Smallbone, Ram, & Bilalić, 2014;Howard, 2014b), and even the ongoing nature-versus-nurture debate (Bilalić, Smallbone, et al., 2009;Gobet, Campitelli, & Waters, 2002;Howard, 1999Howard, , 2001. The archival approach is not in contrast to the more experimental expertise approach previously described. ...
... These restrictions in the skill range of players and their activity records could have serious consequences for the validity of conclusions from studies carried out using the FIDE database (see Vaci et al., 2014Vaci et al., , 2015. Gender differences in skill are regularly found in the FIDE database (Howard, 2005(Howard, , 2006b(Howard, , 2014a; but see Bilalić & McLeod, 2006;Bilalić et al., 2007a), but they are mostly explained with reference to the gender participation disparities in other complete national databases (Bilalić, Smallbone, et al., 2009;Chabris & Glickman, 2006; see also the gender difference analyses in the Illustrative Examples section and the supplemental materials). In other words, it is impossible to estimate participation rates, because the FIDE database has strong skill restrictions. ...
Article
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The game of chess has often been used for psychological investigations, particularly in cognitive science. The clear-cut rules and well-defined environment of chess provide a model for investigations of basic cognitive processes, such as perception, memory, and problem solving, while the precise rating system for the measurement of skill has enabled investigations of individual differences and expertise-related effects. In the present study, we focus on another appealing feature of chess—namely, the large archive databases associated with the game. The German national chess database presented in this study represents a fruitful ground for the investigation of multiple longitudinal research questions, since it collects the data of over 130,000 players and spans over 25 years. The German chess database collects the data of all players, including hobby players, and all tournaments played. This results in a rich and complete collection of the skill, age, and activity of the whole population of chess players in Germany. The database therefore complements the commonly used expertise approach in cognitive science by opening up new possibilities for the investigation of multiple factors that underlie expertise and skill acquisition. Since large datasets are not common in psychology, their introduction also raises the question of optimal and efficient statistical analysis. We offer the database for download and illustrate how it can be used by providing concrete examples and a step-by-step tutorial using different statistical analyses on a range of topics, including skill development over the lifetime, birth cohort effects, effects of activity and inactivity on skill, and gender differences.
... It is unrealistic to follow people for the length of time required in order to achieve expertise in a given domain. However, expertise researchers have recently started employing an archival approach that provides a more complete picture of the skill acquisition process (Charness and Gerchak, 1996;Chabris and Glickman, 2006;Howard, 2008Howard, , 2009Bilalić et al., 2009). In the game of chess, a domain commonly studied in expertise research, there are precise records of all practitioners from an early age (Howard, 2006a;Bilalić et al., 2009). ...
... It is notable that the studies using the restricted FIDE database regularly find gender differences in skill acquisition (Howard, 2005(Howard, , 2006b, 2014 but see, McLeod, 2006, 2007). Furthermore, the studies using the national German and USCF databases (Chabris and Glickman, 2006;Bilalić et al., 2009) also noted the differences in the mean and highest ratings of women and men. However, using the unrestricted range and the full lifespan data, they observed that factors such as participation rates and dropout rates could explain the differences. ...
... However, it is also obvious that men outnumber women at all levels in chess, and this difference in overall "participation rates" (the proportion of all men and women who choose to enter competitive chess) has been cited to explain the difference in high achievement (Charness & Gerchak, 1996;Howard, 2005;Chabris & Glickman, 2006). The question of sex differences in achievement is equally salient in other fields where more men reach the top levels than women, such as academia, business, and the law. ...
... Using the mean, or even the lower percentiles of the empirical distribution, is also much less sensitive to distributional assumptions than is using the highest values. We took this approach to examine sex differences in chess ability among 250,000 U.S. rated players; we found that the male mean was significantly higher than the female mean, but that this difference itself might result from the much larger number of boys than girls who enter competition (Chabris & Glickman, 2006; see also Maass et al., 2008). ...
... There are various possible explanations for this apart from innate biological differences (for critiques and negative findings see Kerkman et al. 2000; Spelke 2005; Lachance & Mazzocco 2006). Socialization and different interests (Benbow et al. 2000; Ayalon 2003), gender roles (Massa et al. 2005), gatekeeper effects (Davidson & Cooper 1992; Steele 1997; Huffman & Torres 2002), cultural differences (Andreescu et al. 2008) and higher participation rates of men (Charness & Gerchak 1996; Chabris & Glickman 2006) have all been proposed. Here, we show that in chess, an intellectually demanding activity where men dominate at the top level, the difference in the performance of the best men and women is largely accounted for by the difference that would be expected, given the much greater number of men who participate. ...
... Whatever the final resolution of these debates, there is little empirical evidence to support the hypothesis of differential drop-out rates between male and females. A recent study of 647 young chess players, matched for initial skill, age and initial activity found that drop-out rates for boys and girls were similar (Chabris & Glickman 2006). Our study does not deal directly with the reasons why there are so few women in competitive chess. ...
Article
Full-text available
A popular explanation for the small number of women at the top level of intellectually demanding activities from chess to science appeals to biological differences in the intellectual abilities of men and women. An alternative explanation is that the extreme values in a large sample are likely to be greater than those in a small one. Although the performance of the 100 best German male chess players is better than that of the 100 best German women, we show that 96 per cent of the observed difference would be expected given the much greater number of men who play chess. There is little left for biological or cultural explanations to account for. In science, where there are many more male than female participants, this statistical sampling explanation, rather than differences in intellectual ability, may also be the main reason why women are under-represented at the top end.
... As the female chess champion of the U.S., Jennifer Shahade (2005, p. 6), states: 'the category of women's chess does not refer to some intrinsically female way of playing chess but rather to being a minority in the chess world, which can affect the way a woman plays'. Interestingly, in line with this idea, Chabris and Glickman (2006) have recently shown that girls have lower chess ratings than boys when entering competitions only in locales in which they are numerically underrepresented among the chess population. ...
... The striking underrepresentation of women in the chess world in general, and among top ranks in particular, has attracted much attention over the past decades and various hypotheses have been advanced to explain the gender gap, including different distributions of relevant cognitive abilities and differential drop-out rates (see Chabris & Glickman, 2006, for an overview). Our research offers a very different explanation, suggesting that women entering the male-dominated chess world encounter great difficulties due to widespread stereotypes (for concrete examples, the interested reader is referred to Shahade's 2005, popular book on women and chess). ...
Article
Women are surprisingly underrepresented in the chess world, representing less that 5% of registered tournament players worldwide and only 1% of the world's grand masters. In this paper it is argued that gender stereotypes are mainly responsible for the underperformance of women in chess. Forty-two male–female pairs, matched for ability, played two chess games via Internet. When players were unaware of the sex of opponent (control condition), females played approximately as well as males. When the gender stereotype was activated (experimental condition), women showed a drastic performance drop, but only when they were aware that they were playing against a male opponent. When they (falsely) believed to be playing against a woman, they performed as well as their male opponents. In addition, our findings suggest that women show lower chess-specific self-esteem and a weaker promotion focus, which are predictive of poorer chess performance. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
... Game-XP puts a name on an activity that has influenced research and theory for three decades (at least since Sudnow, 1983). However, sampling expertise or measuring changes in longitudinal performance is not unique to Game-XP but is well represented by studies of memory (e.g., Chase & Ericsson, 1982), music (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-R€ omer, 1993), chess (Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Charness, 1992;Gobet, 2015), and in ESPs such as those favored in studies of perceptual learning (Fine & Jacobs, 2002). Indeed, this twin focus on expertise sampling and longitudinal studies of simple (Ebbinghaus, 1885/1913) and complex tasks (Book, 1908;Bryan & Harter, 1897) extends back to the beginnings of experimental psychology. ...
... Chris Chabris, using chess as his paradigm, has examined sex differences in intellectual performance (Chabris & Glickman, 2006), hemispheric-specialization of perceptual organization (Chabris & Hamilton, 1992), and the blunders made by grandmasters (Chabris & Hearst, 2003). Chris is also known for his studies of change blindness (Chabris & Simons, 2010;Simons & Chabris, 1999), his demolition of the Mozart effect (Chabris, 1999), and for other contributions, too numerous to mention here. ...
Article
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Why games? How could anyone consider action games an experimental paradigm for Cognitive Science? In 1973, as one of three strategies he proposed for advancing Cognitive Science, Allen Newell exhorted us to “accept a single complex task and do all of it.” More specifically, he told us that rather than taking an “experimental psychology as usual approach,” we should “focus on a series of experimental and theoretical studies around a single complex task” so as to demonstrate that our theories of human cognition were powerful enough to explain “a genuine slab of human behavior” with the studies fitting into a detailed theoretical picture. Action games represent the type of experimental paradigm that Newell was advocating and the current state of programming expertise and laboratory equipment, along with the emergence of Big Data and naturally occurring datasets, provide the technologies and data needed to realize his vision. Action games enable us to escape from our field's regrettable focus on novice performance to develop theories that account for the full range of expertise through a twin focus on expertise sampling (across individuals) and longitudinal studies (within individuals) of simple and complex tasks.
... To our knowledge, there has been no documented research looking specifically at aesthetics or beauty in the game in relation to gender. However, previ-ous work with regard to chess-playing ability and gender has found, for instance, that women are more risk-averse in playing (Gerdes and Gränsmark, 2010), though more males enter the sport at lower levels in the game which translates to more men at the highest levels (Chabris & Glickman, 2006 (Friedel, 2015). Our intention in this research is not to go into details about the dynamics and interplay of the gender roles in contrast to other areas where there are such discrepancies. ...
Conference Paper
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Chess is typically a male-dominated sport. However, women play the game as well but usually against each other. The reasons for this are debatable. Aesthetics is also an important part of the game and the reason why many people play. It is an essential component of the (even more so) male-dominated world of chess composition. In this research, our goal was to determine if games between men and games between women showed any statistically significant difference in terms of aesthetics. We analyzed using a computational aesthetics model two sets of games (one small, one large) between males and between females irrespective of playing strength and age. We found in the smaller set that there was no difference but in the larger set that the games between men were, on average, more beautiful than those between women. This suggests that men are more likely to have a better artistic sense in the game and therefore appreciate it more. It might also help to explain the relative non-existence of master female chess problem composers. It follows that, similarly, women may have better artistic senses in other games or domains as compared to men. Video Version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCElBB6zvZs
... O que precisamente es en los países donde las políticas de igualdad están más desarrolladas y las mujeres gozan de mayores oportunidades donde más se observan dualizaciones profesionales crecientes en virtud del sexo (Falk y Hemrle, 2018;Stoet y Geary, 2018). En otro orden de consideraciones, conviene asimismo reparar en la hipótesis de la variabilidad masculina, que en esencia señala que las varianzas de desempeño de las mujeres son más estrechas que las de los hombres, razón por la cual estos últimos estarían representados con mayor probabilidad en los extremos de aptitud (lo cual sería una evidencia a favor de su mayor/menor presencia en ciertos estudios y profesiones), aunque los hallazgos de las investigaciones al respecto (Chabris y Glickman, 2006;Deary et al., 2007;Moè, 2018;O´Dea et al., 2018) no indican que las diferencias detectadas sean de entidad suficiente como para dar cuenta de la magnitud de las disparidades encontradas en las pautas formativas y ocupacionales de ambos sexos. En el mismo sentido, las diferencias cognitivas por sexo halladas por la investigación científica (Ardila et al., 2011;Geary, 1995;Joshi et al., 2020;Miller y Halpern, 2014;Stumpf, 1995) parecen tener repercusiones en aptitudes y actitudes hacia diferentes objetos y tareas, lo cual podría explicar una parte de las distintas opciones de hombres y mujeres en algunas áreas de actividad. ...
Article
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RESUMEN En este trabajo se tematiza la llamada "hipótesis del techo de cristal", que sostiene que los niveles de desempeño y de salario de las mujeres están limitados artificialmente por razón de sexo, en vez de corresponder a sus preferencias a la hora de escoger su formación y orientarse laboralmente con arreglo a sus intereses y a la autopercepción competencial. Se muestran conjuntamente los comportamientos educativos y ocupacionales de la población española de ambos sexos durante los dos últimos decenios, poniéndose de relieve que en uno y otro caso ofrecen una estructura estable y consistente que difícilmente puede atribuirse a una imposición exógena determinante. PALABRAS CLAVE Formación; ocupación; preferencias; techo de cristal. SUMARIO 1. Introducción: La hipótesis del techo de cristal ampliada y la teoría de las preferencias. 2. El patrón formativo de las mujeres. 3. El patrón laboral de las mujeres. 4. Discusión y conclusiones: determinación sociocultural o elección personal. Bibliografía. ABSTRACT In this paper is discussed the so-called "glass ceiling hypothesis", which argues that women's performance and salary levels are artificially limited by reason of sex, instead of due to their preferences when choosing their studies and occupation according to their interests and self-perceived competence. The educational and occupational behaviors of the Spanish population of both sexes during the last two decades are shown, highlighting that in both cases they offer a stable and consistent structure that can hardly be forced exogenously.
... Furthermore, expanding admissions criteria for talent searches currently focused on identifying intellectually talented youths 5 There have been some discussions in visible outlets and based on very small samples that socioeconomic status (SES) moderates the sex difference in spatial ability (Levine, Vasilyeva, Lourenco, Newcombe, & Huttenlocher, 2005). Levine et al. has been cited by a number of recent investigations (Alexander & Son, 2007;Bergemann et al., 2008;Chabris & Glickman, 2006;Ehrlich, Levine, & Goldin-Meadow, 2006;Hackman & Farah, 2009;Newcombe & Uttal, 2006;Noble, McCandliss, & Farah, 2007;Penner & Paret, 2008;Silverman, Choi, & Peters, 2007) as documenting this relationship. As Newcombe and Uttal (2006) further generalize, "We need to delineate why and how some of the core abilities that all humans have come to be developed to different degrees in ways that depend on interactions of SES and gender" (p. ...
Article
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The importance of spatial ability in educational pursuits and the world of work was examined, with particular attention devoted to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) domains. Participants were drawn from a stratified random sample of U.S. high schools (Grades 9-12, N = 400,000) and were tracked for 11+ years; their longitudinal findings were aligned with pre-1957 findings and with contemporary data from the Graduate Record Examination and the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. For decades, spatial ability assessed during adolescence has surfaced as a salient psychological attribute among those adolescents who subsequently go on to achieve advanced educational credentials and occupations in STEM. Results solidify the generalization that spatial ability plays a critical role in developing expertise in STEM and suggest, among other things, that including spatial ability in modern talent searches would identify many adolescents with potential for STEM who are currently being missed.
... Thus, with reference to Elo (1978), it has become possible to measure skills on objective grounds, there are no " subjective assessments " (Chabris and Glickman 2006, p. 1040). ...
Article
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We examine rational learning among expert chess players and how they update their beliefs in repeated games with the same opponent. We present a model that explains how equilibrium play is affected when players change their choice of strategy when receiving additional information from each encounter. We employ a large international panel dataset with controls for risk preferences and playing skills whereby the latter accounts for ability. Although expert chess players are intelligent, productive and equipped with adequate data and specialized computer programs, we find large learning effects. Moreover, as predicted by the model, risk-averse players learn substantially faster.
... While the differences in RAE between the sexes is thought to be the result of earlier maturation (Baxter Jones, 1995), females mature earlier and can be less motivated to achieve excellence in competitive sport. Dropping-out can be reflected in the inferior outcomes in direct competition with males (Chabris & Glickman, 2006). This may also be observed in non-physical activities. ...
Article
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Numerous studies have attempted to investigate the factors affecting superior intellectual performance, and it has been proposed that a possible biological marker for superior intellectual performance is the month of birth. In this study, birth details of chess players were obtained from the official international chess federation website. The rating lists of top junior female chess players (“Girls” category), top junior male chess players (“Boys”), top female chess players (“Female”), and top male chess players (“Male”) were collected between July 2000 and August 2015. The birth months of each player that appeared in the top rating list were categorized into quarters. Additionally, relative age of chess players was calculated. Results supported the existence of the relative age effect in chess in all categories although a “reverse” RAE was found in the “Male” category.
... In this work, the author concentrates therefore on the effects of Bilalic and Chabris found no gender-specific chess excellence [17][18][19]. Since men and women may be differentiated mainly by their testosterone and not estradiol concentration (Table 2) [20], testosterone in physiological concentrations should therefore have no effect on mental chess excellence. ...
Article
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Abstract During a chess game, the needed energy is first derived instantly from ATP and creatine-phosphate, then within a few seconds later from glycogen stores in brain, glycogen, muscle and liver and finally, 1-2 hours later from adipose tissue. Anaerobic oxidation of glucose-derivative from glycogen delivers energy 6 times faster than aerobic oxidation of glucose and oxidation of fatty acids; correspondingly, mental activity can perform as well 6 times faster as long as glycogen is available. The mental profile of chess players correlates with cerebral processes such as attention, conflict solution, memory, motivation and recognition, which together constitute a specific chess-domain expertise. A chess player may compete best when a) regularly physical exercise is carried out to compete in strenuous chess tournaments and to stimulate mental cognition, b) super compensated glycogen is accumulated in brain, muscle and liver by corresponding nutrition and physical and mental activities, and c. an active mental disposition is available for complex brain tasks during chess by complementary treatment schemes e.g., cogni-tive enhancement (CE) by chess training with chess boards, chess books, building chess images, visual observation of chess games, vocational training with chess, metacognitive training, and additionally regular light physical stress. An illicit improvement of brain performance for chess playing may be achieved by several measures: 1. Increase of O2 supply by therapy with erythropoietin (EPO) for chess tournaments at high altitudes and for chess players with lung diseases 2. Increase of body glycogen by therapy with insulin 3. mental stimulation by caffeine AAS, anabolic agents, amphetamines, nicotine and cocaine have no proven effect on quality of chess playing. Many steroid- and proteohormones such as cortisol, testosterone, ACTH, EPO, GH, hCG, IGF-I, Insulin, LH, present positive effects on brain development and cognition only when present in natural concentrations during development of brain. Pharmaceutical preparations show positive effects only at low baseline cognition. With elevated concentrations, these hormones present negative effects on mental cognition. Actual CE drugs have effects only with persons at low cognitive baseline. With normal persons, CE is still below clinical significance. Regular non-medical use of steroid and proteohormones in elevated concentrations and CE-drugs must also consider numerous side effects ranging from simple metabolic disturbances through cardiac problems to cognitive decline to tumorgenesis and sudden death.
... There exists no gender specific intellectual performance in humans for chess playing despite several different opinions [102,[118][119][120][121][122][123][124]. ...
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Chess is a competitive sport in the classical meaning of the word. One of the most important factors for chess and sport competence is the accumulated time of training. In order to obtain a high level of competence, chess players and athletes alike must spend up 10 years of specific training. In chess and classical sport energy needed for brain activity is first derived from glycogen stores in brain, muscles and liver and later from adipose tissue. Both, chess and classical sport rely on shared energy from glycogen and fat. When the brain needs additional energy, muscles and liver share energy with the brain. When muscles Need additional energy, brain complies with the request of muscles. Energy expenditure, O2 uptake and CO2 production during chess games are similar to those obtained during a marathon. Mental and physical fatigue begin with similar metabolic states: deprivation of glycogen. During competitive chess, athletes must be in good physical condition. Mental profiles of chess players and other athletes correlate with processes such as attention, conflict control, memory, motivation and recognition. In chess there exists no gender-specific excellence; glycogen availability, however, is less developed in female chess players. In chess and in classical sports, the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles cooperate in complete harmony. The brain commands everything: in chess the figures, in sport the cellular receptors (baro-, lactate-, gluco-, metabo-, chemo-, thermo-, respiratory-) “send” signals via eyes or metabolic changes to the brain. The brain then decides, what to do: in chess, the player moves a figure; in sports, muscles react according to demand. Physical exercise or chess must be defined by a motor activity completely controlled by the central nervous system (CNS) in combination with a specific competence. In chess as well as in physical exercise, physical stress prepares brain to cognitive stimulation. With respect to biochemical, physiological, neuronal and psychological aspects, chess is equals classical physical exercise and must be recognized as sport.
... A landmark establishing chess as an analytical tool was the introduction of the so-called "Elo"-scale that made it possible to compare the strength of chess players on a metric scale. Following Elo (1978), it has become possible to measure skills on objective grounds, i.e. there are no "subjective assessments" (Chabris andGlickman, 2006, p. 1040). 2 "Chess has numerous strengths for the purposes of econometric analysis. First, the outcomes are clear and objective: a win, a draw, or a loss. ...
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... player Elo rating at the time of play) was not taken into account. The difference in aesthetic quality of play could have been due simply to playing strength because men, on average, tend to have higher ratings than women despite some controversy in this area of research as well [11][12][13][14][15][16][17]. Our objectives in the present research were therefore; 1) to perform a more thorough examination of the aesthetic quality of chess sequences taken from games between men and women using artificial intelligence (AI) as in the previous work; 2) to determine if there were any significant differences and; 3) to use the results in order to derive recommendations for training and promotion methods to females in order to improve their participation in the sport. ...
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Aesthetics or beauty in chess is a quality appreciated by most players. However, there is scant research on the differences of aesthetic perception between the genders, especially given the lower participation of females in this domain. Using an experimentally-validated computational aesthetics model for chess, we evaluated a fair selection of winning chess move sequences taken from games played between women and men. Contrary to previous research that was not as thorough, we found no statistically significant difference in the aesthetic quality of those sequences between the groups. The results suggest that aesthetic ability, perception and appreciation in the game are likely not affected by gender. This also implies that training methods and promotion of the game to girls or young women have less, if any, basis for being any different from those that pertain to boys or men. Furthermore, the arguably absolute lack of participation of women in the sub-domain of chess problem composition - in which aesthetics plays an even more significant role - likely has little, if anything, to do with innate capability unless otherwise demonstrated.
... Chess has been, by its complexity and clear rules, a privileged model for the study of learning and decision making. Massive chess data allowed the analysis of the influence of age, cohorts, gen- der and other features on learning [9,10,[42][43][44][45]. ...
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... The acclaimed chess player and psychologist Reuben Fine [22] published a chronological review of important research on chess psychology. Even today, psychology of chess players is the subject of numerous studies [15,23]. An important role within chess tactics can be occupied by attention, thinking, memory, nonverbal communication, personality traits, and motivation. ...
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This research aimed to classify relevant factors affecting chess tactics, and to assess their importance and correlation to chess players' ratings and age. The research was undertaken with the purpose of exploring and describing the research issue. A sequence type of mixed methods approach was used in the research. The exploratory design model of developing taxonomy was chosen with the aim of identifying relevant variables and constructing a classification system in the qualitative component, while the results obtained with this procedure were verified in the other, quantitative component. The participant sample needed for the quantitative component of the research comprised 50 competitively active chess players. The results of the qualitative component point out to the multitude and relevance of the areas where many factors affecting chess tactics originate. However, chess players attached different value to the relevance of certain areas and, accordingly, of factors which can affect chess tactics. In the opinion of the surveyed chess players, theoretical preparation and different forms of planning held a prominent place in chess tactics. Regarding the parts of the whole, chess players placed great importance to scouting, long-term planning and tactics in the narrow sense.
... O que precisamente es en los países donde las políticas de igualdad están más desarrolladas y las mujeres gozan de mayores oportunidades donde más se observan dualizaciones profesionales crecientes en virtud del sexo (Falk y Hemrle, 2018;Stoet y Geary, 2018). En otro orden de consideraciones, conviene asimismo reparar en la hipótesis de la variabilidad masculina, que en esencia señala que las varianzas de desempeño de las mujeres son más estrechas que las de los hombres, razón por la cual estos últimos estarían representados con mayor probabilidad en los extremos de aptitud (lo cual sería una evidencia a favor de su mayor/menor presencia en ciertos estudios y profesiones), aunque los hallazgos de las investigaciones al respecto (Chabris y Glickman, 2006;Deary et al., 2007;Moè, 2018;O´Dea et al., 2018) no indican que las diferencias detectadas sean de entidad suficiente como para dar cuenta de la magnitud de las disparidades encontradas en las pautas formativas y ocupacionales de ambos sexos. En el mismo sentido, las diferencias cognitivas por sexo halladas por la investigación científica (Ardila et al., 2011;Geary, 1995;Joshi et al., 2020;Miller y Halpern, 2014;Stumpf, 1995) parecen tener repercusiones en aptitudes y actitudes hacia diferentes objetos y tareas, lo cual podría explicar una parte de las distintas opciones de hombres y mujeres en algunas áreas de actividad. ...
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En este trabajo se tematiza la llamada “hipótesis del techo de cristal”, que sostiene que los niveles de desempeño y de salario de las mujeres están limitados artificialmente por razón de sexo, en vez de corresponder a sus preferencias a la hora de escoger su formación y orientarse laboralmente con arreglo a sus intereses y a la autopercepción competencial. Se muestran conjuntamente los comportamientos educativos y ocupacionales de la población española de ambos sexos durante los dos últimos decenios, poniéndose de relieve que en uno y otro caso ofrecen una estructura estable y consistente que difícilmente puede atribuirse a una imposición exógena determinante.
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The gender-equality paradox refers to the puzzling finding that societies with more gender equality demonstrate larger gender differences across a range of phenomena, most notably in the proportion of women who pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. The present investigation demonstrates across two different measures of gender equality that this paradox extends to chess participation ( N = 803,485 across 160 countries; age range: 3–100 years), specifically that women participate more often in countries with less gender equality. Previous explanations for the paradox fail to account for this finding. Instead, consistent with the notion that gender equality reflects a generational shift, mediation analyses suggest that the gender-equality paradox in chess is driven by the greater participation of younger players in countries with less gender equality. A curvilinear effect of gender equality on the participation of female players was also found, demonstrating that gender differences in chess participation are largest at the highest and lowest ends of the gender-equality spectrum.
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Men are over-represented in the arts, sciences, and sports. This has been hypothesized to reflect an evolved male predisposition for enduring competitiveness or long-term motivation to improve one's performance and "show-off." Evidence for this hypothesis is equivocal, however, because there are viable alternative explanations for men's dominance in most cultural display domains. Here, I argue that distance running is an ideal domain for addressing this issue. Distance running is ideal because it indicates enduring competitiveness, allows objective comparisons, and is accessible, acceptable, and popular for both men and women. I review recent studies and present new data showing that substantially more men than women run relatively fast in the U.S., that this sex difference in relative performance can be attributed, at least in part, to men's greater training motivation, and that this pattern has been stable for several decades. Distance running thus provides compelling evidence for an evolved male predisposition for enduring competitiveness. I conclude with suggestions regarding how variation in achievement motivation can be informed by considering how evolved predispositions interact with environmental and social conditions.
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Summary Males predominate at the top in chess, and chess is a useful domain to investigate possible causes of gender differences in high achievement. Opportunity, interest and extent of practice can be controlled for. Organized chess has objective performance measures, extensive longitudinal population-level data and little gatekeeper influence. Previous studies of gender differences in chess performance have not controlled adequately for females on average playing fewer rated games and dropping out at higher rates. The present study did so by examining performance of international chess players at asymptote and over equal numbers of rated games. Males still were very disproportionately represented at the top. Top female players showed signs of having less natural talent for chess than top males, such as taking more rated games to gain the grandmaster title. The hypothesis that males predominate because many more males play chess was tested by comparing gender performance differences in nations with varying percentages of female players. In well-practised participants, gender performance differences stayed constant even when the average national percentage of female international players increased from 4.2% to 32.3%. In Georgia, where women are encouraged strongly to play chess and females constitute nearly 32% of international players, gender performance differences are still sizeable. Males on average may have some innate advantages in developing and exercising chess skill.
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The superiority of men over women in chess has been cited as evidence that there are fundamental differences in male and female intelligence (Howard, 2005a, 2006; Irwing & Lynn, 2005). An alternative interpretation of the difference is that it is due to differential male and female participation rates in chess (Charness & Gerchak, 1996; Bilalić & McLeod, 2006; Chabris & Glickman, in press). This has been dismissed by Howard (2006) on the grounds that changes in the difference in skill level between top male and female players in recent years are not correlated with changing relative participation rates. Here it is shown that Howard's analysis is misleading. The data are consistent with differential participation rates as the explanation of the gap between the performance of women and men in chess.
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In this study, the longitudinal relation between deliberate practice and performance in chess was examined using a linear mixed models analysis. The practice activities and performance ratings of young elite chess players, who were either in, or had dropped out of the Dutch national chess training, were analysed since they had started playing chess seriously. The results revealed that deliberate practice (i.e. serious chess study alone and serious chess play) strongly contributed to chess performance. The influence of deliberate practice was not only observable in current performance, but also over chess players' careers. Moreover, although the drop-outs' chess ratings developed more slowly over time, both the persistent and drop-out chess players benefited to the same extent from investments in deliberate practice. Finally, the effect of gender on chess performance proved to be much smaller than the effect of deliberate practice. This study provides longitudinal support for the monotonic benefits assumption of deliberate practice, by showing that over chess players' careers, deliberate practice has a significant effect on performance, and to the same extent for chess players of different ultimate performance levels. The results of this study are not in line with critique raised against the deliberate practice theory that the factors deliberate practice and talent could be confounded.
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For intervention programs that are applied in natural settings, randomization often is difficult or impossible to achieve. If treated individuals are compared with individuals from a nonrandomized comparison group, the inference of causality can be biased. Similar distributions in the relevant characteristics of the treatment and the comparison groups cannot be expected. To adjust between-group comparisons for preexisting differences, this article proposes a simple matching procedure. This procedure involves pairing of treatment and comparison individuals based on observable characteristics, using Euclidean distance scores. Application of the proposed Euclidean-distance matching (EuM) procedure to data from the Viennese E-Lecturing (VEL) project yields satisfying results. Possible generalizations and applications of the EuM procedure are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Beliefs about the importance of innate talent to success in a domain may affect persistence and effort over the life span. Researchers mainly have examined the domains of formal education and physical sports. The present study examined beliefs and their longitudinal effects in participants in an intellectual game; international chess. Most players surveyed believe in innate talent for chess and that top players have more talent but differ in beliefs about how far most players can go. Effects of the latter differing beliefs then were examined by comparing groups who believed or did not believe that most players could reach grandmaster or top ten levels. Effects were minimal. Differing beliefs about innate talent had little apparent impact in chess players.
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This paper presents empirical findings on gender differences in time preference and inconsistency based on international, high-level chess panel data with a large number of observations, including a control for ability. Due to the time constraint in chess, it is possible to study performance and choices related to time preferences. The results suggest that men play shorter games on average and pay a higher price to end the game sooner. They also perform worse in shorter game compared to women but better in longer games. Furthermore, women perform worse in time pressure (the 40th move time control). The results are consistent with the interpretation that men are more impatient (with a lower discount factor) but also more inconsistent in the sense that they tend to be too impatient. Women, on the other hand, are more inconsistent as they tend to over-consume reflection time in the beginning, leading to time pressure later.
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One view attributes male predominance at the apex of intellectual achievement partly to some innate ability differences. Another view attributes it only to such social factors as socialization practices, lack of female role models, glass ceilings and male gatekeepers downplaying female achievement. The present study examined sex differences in performance at the top in international chess. This domain allows controls over the latter two social factors because chess has an objective performance measure based on game results and little of a glass ceiling as most tournaments are open to all and talent can rise quickly. The sex difference in performance in the top 10 and 50 of all international players is large at about one standard deviation and stayed roughly constant from 1975 to 2014. A large difference remained when examined over number of rated games played and also occurred, but not as strongly, with Georgian players, who have a high female participation rate. Male predominance in chess and related domains may be due partly to sex differences in innate abilities.
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The central aim of this paper is to undertake a critical review of arguments which propose that chess should be taught in schools and other educational settings. In particular, I offer an answer to the question: ‘Should chess be taught in early childhood?’ Many claims have been made about the educational benefits of chess instruction. In evaluating these, I argue that critics of such claims have neglected an important possibility for evaluating the teaching of chess: undertaking research studies that employ an action research (AR) methodology. This paper focuses on the following themes: (1) chess: the gymnasium of the mind; (2) teaching and learning chess: the current context; (3) teaching young children to play chess: some common claims; (4) research studies and ‘the ideal experiment’; (5) teaching chess: the role of AR and (6) conclusion: should chess be taught in early childhood?
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The purpose of the chapter is to present a diagnosis of the need for changes in education programs for healthcare professionals. The areas subject to analysis refer to the elements included in the concept of Healthcare Improvement Science. The fundamental idea behind the analyses conducted as part of the project was to identify gaps based on the analyses prepared by experts from partner countries. The presentation emphasises difficulties in comparing countries, which result from diversity in different countries at the level of the system and the education. The presented proposal includes the context of needs, and consequently changes in healthcare. It will be presented in the holistic thinking about risk factors and protective factors.
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In this chapter, the authors argue that chess can plausibly be linked to claims of art, science, and sport, yet the boundaries of these three realms are by no means neatly divided. The authors have conducted their own independent ethnographies of chess players, exploring the sociological implications of chess as a set of competitive, symbolic, and institutionalized social activities. Drawing on these ethnographic studies, the authors compare chess to other studies across the sociology of art, science, and sport, in order to explore how chess fits into each of these categories, and how the essence of these categories are mutually dependent, fluid, and relational. The authors characterize chess as ?art, science, and sport.? The patterns of chess style that have evolved through its history suggest an aesthetic appeal that links chess to the world of art.
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"Stereotype threat" has been offered as a potential explanation of differential performance between men and women in some cognitive domains. Questions remain about the reliability and generality of the phenomenon. Previous studies have found that stereotype threat is activated in female chess players when they are matched against male players. I use data from over 5.5 million games of international tournament chess and find no evidence of a stereotype threat effect. In fact women players outperform expectations when playing men. Further analysis shows no influence of degree of challenge, nor of player age, nor of prevalence of female role models in national chess leagues on differences in performance when women play men versus when they play women. Though this analysis contradicts one specific mechanism of influence of gender stereotypes, the persistent differences between male and female players suggest that systematic factors do exist and remain to be uncovered.
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The economic literature on time-pressured decisions is slim and has mainly relied on laboratory collected data. Within this literature, only few studies have investigated the gender differences in the effects of time constraint on decision making. The World Chess Federation reports the official player ratings in Standard, Rapid and Blitz Chess. Standard, Rapid, and Blitz Chess only differ from each other in the stringency of the time constraint they impose on the players. While Standard Chess can last several hours, Rapid (Blitz) Chess allocates each player (30) 10 min or less for the entire game. The present paper uses 2012 to 2019 chess tournament data of the World Chess Federation to investigate the gender differences in the effects of time constraint on performance. These data, containing more than 1.8 million individual observations, are analyzed using several approaches to ensure the robustness of the findings. The results indicate that the Rapid and Blitz ratings of female chess players are below the ratings of male chess players of the same skills. While female underperformance is largely robust even at the country level, its magnitude is rather small. Finally, reexamining the question by chess skill thresholds produces evidence that female underperformance is greater among the elite players. The findings are discussed in light of the past literature.
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The progress of brain-imaging research casts doubt on a theory that the degree of brain-lateralization defines sex differences in cognitive strength patterns, i.e., men excel at spatial ability and math, and women excel at verbal fluency and language abilities. Meta-analyses reported that previously believed anatomical brain sex-differences, including the thickness of the corpus callosum, were not replicated. However, findings did not completely exclude the existence of brain/cognitive sex differences. The author reviews recent trends in this debate and covers new evidence that bridges the biological and cultural approaches, including “stereotype threat” investigations for explaining the STEM gender gap. The importance of both defining the scope of interest and dissecting various elements that relate to manifestations of socio-behavioral patterns is stressed.
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Currently, the World Chess Federation lists 1,643 male Grandmasters against only 37 females. While the greater attainment of men in competitive chess is well known, the lesser known fact is that the gender gap in competitive chess varies strongly across countries. For instance, for every 100 male players with the attainment level of Candidate Master, there are about 48, 47, 38, 4, 3, and 2 female players in Vietnam, Georgia, China, US (Japan), France (Sweden), and Denmark (Finland), respectively. Noting these large gender discrepancies, this paper constructs a cross-country panel to explore the determinants of these gaps. Controlling for main economic development indicators and several measures of gender equality, a legacy of command economy is found to be the most significant predictor of a smaller gender gap in competitive chess across countries. Various explanations and their implications are discussed.
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We model individual careers in sports and games from initial entry to eventual exit or success as a discrete-choice, finite-horizon optimization problem. We apply this model to the international game of chess and study cross-country differences in the relative success of players. While we find no evidence that the players in our sample from the ex-Warsaw Pact are more talented than European and American players, there is evidence that they face lower training costs.
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Chess has long served as an important standard task environment for research on human memory and problem-solving abilities and processes. In this paper, we report evidence on the relative importance of recognition processes and planning (look-ahead) processes in very high level expert performance in chess. The data show that the rated skill of a top-level grandmaster is only slightly lower when he is playing simultaneously against a half dozen grandmaster opponents than under tournament conditions that allow much more time for each move. As simultaneous play allows little time for look-ahead processes, the data indicate that recognition, based on superior chess knowledge, plays a much larger part in high-level skill in this task than does planning by looking ahead.
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The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals' prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 yrs. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Three- to 7-year-olds' ability to calculate with whole-number, fraction, and mixed-number amounts was tested using a nonverbal task in which an amount was displayed and then hidden (J. Huttenlocher, N. C. Jordan, & S. C. Levine, 1994). Next, an amount was added to or subtracted from the hidden amount. The child's task was to determine the hidden amount that resulted from the transformation. Although fraction problems were more difficult than whole-number problems, competence on all problem types emerged in the early childhood period. Furthermore, there were striking parallels between the development of whole-number and fraction calculation. This is inconsistent with the hypothesis that early representations of quantity promote learning about whole numbers but interfere with learning about fractions (e.g., R. Gelman, 1991; K. Wynn, 1995, 1997).
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Three experiments investigated the role of working memory in various aspects of thinking in chess. Experiment 1 examined the immediate memory for briefly presented chess positions from master games in players from a wide range of abilities, following the imposition of various secondary tasks designed to block separate components of working memory. Suppression of the articulatory loop (by preventing subvocal rehearsal) had no effect on measures of recall, whereas blocking the visuospatial sketchpad (by manipulation of a keypad) and blocking the central executive (by random letter generation) had equivalent disruptive effects, in comparison with a control condition. Experiment 2 investigated the effects of similar secondary tasks on the solution (i.e., move selection) of tactical chess positions, and a similar pattern was found, except that blocking the central executive was much more disruptive than in Experiment 1. Experiment 3 compared performance on two types of primary task, one concerned with solving chess positions as in Experiment 2, and the other a sentence-rearrangement task. The secondary tasks in each case were both designed to block the central executive, but one was verbal (vocal generation of random numbers), while the other was spatial in nature (random generation of keypresses). Performance of the spatial secondary task was affected to a greater extent by the chess primary task than by the verbal primary task, whereas there were no differential effects on these secondary tasks by the verbal primary task. In none of the three experiments were there any differential effects between weak and strong players. These results are interpreted in the context of the working-memory model and previous theories of the nature of cognition in chess.
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This study investigated sex differences in young children's spatial skill. The authors developed a spatial transformation task, which showed a substantial male advantage by age 4 years 6 months. The size of this advantage was no more robust for rotation items than for translation items. This finding contrasts with studies of older children and adults, which report that sex differences are largest on mental rotation tasks. Comparable performance of boys and girls on a vocabulary task indicated that the male advantage on the spatial task was not attributable to an overall intellectual advantage of boys in the sample.
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The extent to which the acquisition of expertise in knowledge-rich domains, such as chess, can be influenced by general individual characteristics, such as intelligence, has remained unclear. Some previous studies with children have documented significant correlations between chess skill and performance on some psychometric tests, such as performance IQ. However, we found no evidence for a correlation between chess skill and visual memory ability in a group of adult chess players (N = 36, age = 28.4 years). This finding, together with other data in the literature, suggests that there is surprisingly little evidence that chess skill and visuospatial ability are associated in adults. Thus, visual memory ability, and perhaps visuospatial intelligence, may be relatively unimportant factors in the long-term acquisition of chess skill.
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this document should be addressed to Professor Mark E. Glickman, Department of Mathematics, Boston University, 111 Cummington Street, Boston, MA, 02215. E-mail: mg@math.bu.edu Chess Ratings as Data in Psychological Research 2 Since Binet (1893), psychologists have studied the game of chess to learn about fundamental properties of the human mind. Charness (1992) chronicled the rising influence on cognitive science of the seminal work of De Groot (e.g., 1965) and Chase and Simon (1973a, 1973b). The popularity of chess as a task domain for research on expertise stems from several factors, including its well-defined rules, susceptibility to symbolic representation and computer simulation, historical reputation as an unparalleled arena of pure thought, and its remarkable "cognitive fit" to the capacities of the human mind ("an hour to learn, a lifetime to master"). However, chess stands out also because of its rating system (Elo, 1986), which assigns to each player in official competitions a numerical value representing his "average strength." The larger the rating difference between two players, the better the higher-rated player is expected to score in a match between them. This relatively objective system allows researchers to select and group subjects with considerable knowledge of their abilities and the relation between their abilities and those of the larger population. There are numerous examples of this technique; to cite one, Chabris and Hamilton (1992), in a study of hemispheric differences in chess perception, restricted their sample to 16 players who were current or former holders of the "National Master" title, then defined by a rating of 2200 on the U.S. Chess Federation scale (the top 2.5% of competitive players in the country). Charness and Gerchak (1996; ...
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The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals' prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 years. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.
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A general theory of domain identification is used to describe achievement barriers still faced by women in advanced quantitative areas and by African Americans in school. The theory assumes that sustained school success requires identification with school and its subdomains; that societal pressures on these groups (e.g., economic disadvantage, gender roles) can frustrate this identification; and that in school domains where these groups are negatively stereotyped, those who have become domain identified face the further barrier of stereotype threat, the threat that others' judgments or their own actions will negatively stereotype them in the domain. Research shows that this threat dramatically depresses the standardized test performance of women and African Americans who are in the academic vanguard of their groups (offering a new interpretation of group differences in standardized test performance), that it causes disidentification with school, and that practices that reduce this threat can reduce these negative effects.
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This paper reviews work on the effectiveness of different methods of matched sampling and statistical adjustment, alone and in combination, in reducing bias due to confounding x-variables when comparing two populations. The adjustment methods were linear regression adjustment for x continuous and direct standardization for x categorical. With x continuous, the range of situations examined included linear relations between y and x, parallel and non-parallel, monotonic non-linear parallel relations, equal and unequal variances of x, and the presence of errors of measurement in x. The percent of initial bias that was removed was used as the criterion. Overall, linear regression adjustment on random samples appeared superior to the matching methods, with linear regression adjustment on matched samples the most robust method. Several different approaches were suggested for the case of multivariate x, on which little or no work has been done.
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This paper develops a technique for isolating and studying the per- ceptual structures that chess players perceive. Three chess players of varying strength - from master to novice - were confronted with two tasks: ( 1) A perception task, where the player reproduces a chess position in plain view, and (2) de Groot's ( 1965) short-term recall task, where the player reproduces a chess position after viewing it for 5 sec. The successive glances at the position in the perceptual task and long pauses in tbe memory task were used to segment the structures in the reconstruction protocol. The size and nature of these structures were then analyzed as a function of chess skill. What does an experienced chess player "see" when he looks at a chess position? By analyzing an expert player's eye movements, it has been shown that, among other things, he is looking at how pieces attack and defend each other (Simon & Barenfeld, 1969). But we know from other considerations that he is seeing much more. Our work is concerned with just what ahe expert chess pIayer perceives.
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Females and males show different average patterns of academic achievement and scores on cognitive ability tests. Females obtain higher grades in school, score much higher on tests of writing and content-area tests on which the questions are similar to material that was learned in school, attain a majority of college degrees, and are closing the gap in many careers that were traditionally male. By contrast, males score higher on standardized tests of mathematics and science that are not directly tied to their school curriculum, show a large advantage on visuospatial tests (especially those that involve judgments of velocity and navigation through three-dimensional space), and are much more knowledgeable about geography and politics. A cognitive-process taxonomy can shed light on these differences.
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Can the superiority of some countries and groups at certain activities be explained solely by the relative sizes of the participating populations? We focus on the expected highest achievement, max, as a function of the participating group's size. For several relevant statistical distributions, max can be shown to be approximately log-linear in sample size, with a slope of about 0.7 SD units. We use this relation (max is log-linear ∼0.7: MILL7) to examine differences in performance in chess by men and women and by different countries. The expected differences under MILL7 are very close to the observed differences. We also examine the implications of MILL7 for the interpretation of other group differences and discuss its limitations.
Chapter
(from the chapter) summarize some of the findings on expertise in chess / the theme being stressed is the opportunity for trading off knowledge and search to reach a single goal: skilled play / first, the extensive search capabilities of nonhuman chess players, computer chess programs, will be examined / psychological investigations of human chess skill will then be reviewed to contrast the ways in which the two "species" achieve expertise the knowledge base that humans have developed about chess will be assessed, using encyclopedic sources concerning the three phases of chess: the opening, the middle game, and the end game / look at whether knowledge accumulation and training in chess have meant better play, both over time and across chess federations / the extent to which an understanding of chess skill can be of assistance in understanding other types of human skill will be briefly discussed (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A new approach examined two aspects of chess skill, long a popular topic in cognitive science. A powerful computer-chess program calculated the number and magnitude of blunders made by the same 23 grandmasters in hundreds of serious games of slow (“classical”) chess, regular “rapid” chess, and rapid “blindfold” chess, in which opponents transmit moves without ever seeing the actual position. Rapid chess led to substantially more and larger blunders than classical chess. Perhaps more surprisingly, the frequency and magnitude of blunders did not differ in rapid versus blindfold play, despite the additional memory and visualization load imposed by the latter. We discuss the involvement of various cognitive processes in human problem-solving and expertise, especially with respect to chess. Prior opposing views about the basis of general chess skill have emphasized the dominance of either (a) swift pattern recognition or (b) analyzing ahead, but both seem important and the controversy appears currently unresolvable and perhaps fruitless.
Article
Thirty-three tournament-level young Belgian chess players aged 8 to 13 were tested with the French WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). The mean full scale IQ = 121, verbal IQ = 109 and performance IQ = 129. The results suggest that a high level of general intelligence and of spatial ability are necessary to achieve a high standard of play in chess. The high spatial ability of these young chess players suggested by the high performance IQs may go some way towards explaining why males tend to be more numerous than females among high-standard chess players.
Article
Sex differences in central tendency, variability, and numbers of high scores on mental tests have been extensively studied. Research has not always seemed to yield consistent results, partly because most studies have not used representative samples of national populations. An analysis of mental test scores from six studies that used national probability samples provided evidence that although average sex differences have been generally small and stable over time, the test scores of males consistently have larger variance. Except in tests of reading comprehension, perceptual speed, and associative memory, males typically outnumber females substantially among high-scoring individuals.
Article
In recent years, the magnitude, consistency, and stability across time of cognitive sex differences have been questioned. The present study examined these issues in the context of spatial abilities. A meta-analysis of 286 effect sizes from a variety of spatial ability measures was conducted. Effect sizes were partitioned by the specific test used and by a number of variables related to the experimental procedure in order to achieve homogeneity. Results showed that sex differences are significant in several tests but that some intertest differences exist. Partial support was found for the notion that the magnitude of sex differences has decreased in recent years. Finally, it was found that the age of emergence of sex differences depends on the test used. Results are discussed with regard to their implications for the study of sex differences in spatial abilities.
Article
A general theory of domain identification is used to describe achievement barriers still faced by women in advanced quantitative areas and by African Americans in school. The theory assumes that sustained school success requires identification with school and its subdomains; that societal pressures on these groups (e.g., economic disadvantage, gender roles) can frustrate this identification; and that in school domains where these groups are negatively stereotyped, those who have become domain identified face the further barrier of stereotype threat, the threat that others' judgments or their own actions will negatively stereotype them in the domain. Research shows that this threat dramatically depresses the standardized test performance of women and African Americans who are in the academic vanguard of their groups (offering a new interpretation of group differences in standardized test performance), that it causes disidentification with school, and that practices that reduce this threat can reduce these negative effects.
Article
Two types of mechanisms may underlie chess skill: fast mechanisms, such as recognition, and slow mechanisms, such as search through the space of possible moves and responses. Speed distinguishes these mechanisms, so I examined archival data on blitz chess (5 min for the whole game), in which the opportunities for search are greatly reduced. If variation in fast processes accounts for substantial variation in chess skill, performance in blitz chess should correlate highly with a player's overall skill. In addition, restricting search processes should tend to equalize skill difference between players, but this effect should decrease as overall skill level increases. Analyses of three samples of blitz chess tournaments supported both hypotheses. Search is undoubtedly important, but up to 81% of variance in chess skill (measured by rating) was accounted for by how players performed with less than 5% of the normal time available.
Article
Males traditionally predominate at upper achievement levels. One general view holds that this is due only to various social factors such as the 'glass ceiling' and lack of female role models. Another view holds that it occurs partly because of innate ability differences, with more males being at upper ability levels. In the last few decades, women have become more achievement focused and competitive and have gained many more opportunities to achieve. The present study examined one intellectual domain, international chess, to quantify its gender differences in achievement and to see if these have been diminishing with the societal changes. Chess is a good test domain because it is a meritocracy, it has objective performance measures, and longitudinal data of a whole population are available. Performance ratings overall and in the top 10, 50 and 100 players of each sex show large gender differences and little convergence over the past three decades, although a few females have become high achievers. The distribution of performance ratings on the January 2004 list shows a higher male mean and evidence for more male variation, just as with traits such as height. Career patterns of players first on the list between 1985 and 1989 show that top males and females entered the list at about the same age but females tend to play fewer games and have shorter careers. In this domain at least, the male predominance is large and has remained roughly constant despite societal changes.
Article
We examined whether the male spatial advantage varies across children from different socioeconomic (SES) groups. In a longitudinal study, children were administered two spatial tasks requiring mental transformations and a syntax comprehension task in the fall and spring of second and third grades. Boys from middle- and high-SES backgrounds outperformed their female counterparts on both spatial tasks, whereas boys and girls from a low-SES group did not differ in their performance level on these tasks. As expected, no sex differences were found on the verbal comprehension task. Prior studies have generally been based on the assumption that the male spatial advantage reflects ability differences in the population as a whole. Our finding that the advantage is sensitive to variations in SES provides a challenge to this assumption, and has implications for a successful explanation of the sex-related difference in spatial skill.
Article
This paper presents a non-iterative method for fitting dynamic paired comparison models. The method is especially useful when the population of objects or treatments to be compared is large, and where parameter estimates are desired on an ongoing basis. Measuring the abilities of chess players is the motivating example, though the method applies directly to other paired comparison settings where abilities or merits change over time. Section 2 introduces our dynamic paired comparison model. The non-iterative parameter updating algorithm is presented in Section 3. In our procedure, certain parameters need to be estimated before applying the updating algorithm, and the estimation of these model parameters is described in Section 4. The algorithm is then evaluated on simulated data in Section 5. Finally, the method is applied to two data sets: chess game outcomes among the best chess players of all time, and tennis match outcomes played among current tournament players. 2 2 A dynamic paired comparison model The model we assume for competitor ability is closely related to the Bradley-Terry model for paired comparisons (Bradley and Terry, 1952). The Bradley-Terry model asserts that for two objects with merit parameters 1 and 2 , object 1 is preferred to object 2 with probability 1 =( 1 + 2 ). For our specific problem, let ` i and ` j be the unknown (scalar) strengths for players i and j at a fixed point in time. Assume first that a game results in only two outcomes; a win or a loss. Let s ijk
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Classification and regression trees The effects of speed on skilled chess performance
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Remarks at NBER conference on diversifying the science & engineering workforce Magnitude of sex differ-ences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables
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Using chess ratings as data in psychological research Unpublished manuscript, Boston Uni-versity, Department of Mathematics and Statistics The roles of recognition processes and look-ahead search in time-constrained expert problem solving: Evidence from grandmaster-level chess
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that an analysis of extremes in a distribution is a very lowpower method of inferring differences in the sample means (Glickman & Chabris
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Note, however, that an analysis of extremes in a distribution is a very lowpower method of inferring differences in the sample means (Glickman & Chabris, 1996). In the present study, we analyzed the entire distribution, rather than just the extreme performers.