This study focuses on examining differences in junior high school students in levels of aggressiveness and cooperation as related to gender. We devised a simple card game, based on Prisoner's Dilemma game theory. Although modeled on a complex mathematical concept that has been used in fields from nuclear arms strategy to economics, this paradigm allowed us to measure objectively levels of cooperative tendency using a relatively simple set of rules. A male and female experimenter each tested 10 boys and 10 girls. This gave us four groups of ten subjects each. Our hypotheses were that male subjects would play more aggressively than females, that all subjects would cooperate more with experimenters of different sex, and that these differences would be amplified in the subject's descriptions of their strategies more than in their actual behavior.
Using three types of statistical tests (t-test, chi-squire, and ANOVA), the only statistically significant result was that males reported using aggressive strategies more often than females. Possible reasons for lack of significance in other results are small sample size and short game duration. Additional experiments are planned to verify and further explore these relationships. u
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.