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Sex Role and "Cooperation" in the Game of Chicken

David W. Conrath
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Sep., 1972), pp. 433-443
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/173587
Page Count: 11
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Sex Role and "Cooperation" in the Game of Chicken
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Abstract

Experimental games of conflict have usually indicated that male subjects are more "cooperative" than female subjects. Most such experimentation has used the Prisoner's Dilemma environment, and little theorizing has been done to explain why the differences arose other than to indicate that the propensity to cooperate differs according to sex role. On a closer examination of past results we believe that most of them can be explained by the different use to which subjects put their choice behavior, depending upon their time perspective of the game. Males have a tendency to view the game over a reasonably long time horizon, and therefore tend to use play to communicate to the other party. Females appear to play a series of one-shot games, and thus optimize strictly over the short run. This difference was tested in the more robust game environment of Chicken (two Nash equilibria versus one for Prisoner's Dilemma) using a variety of different measures. The results are consistent with the hypothesis of time horizon differentials according to sex role.

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