Study: Men are better than women at scrabble — But not because of ability

MIAMI — Men are better than women at Scrabble, but it’s not for a lack of ability, a new study finds.

Researchers at the University of Miami analyzed the performance of 300 elite players who had participated in the National Scrabble Championship, finding that although females made up the majority of competitors, men usually took home the gold, even when accounting for age, skill, and experience.

Scrabble tiles
A new study finds that men are better Scrabble players than women, but not necessarily because of ability — they just take it way more seriously!

This outcome was the result of something simple: men took playing Scrabble more seriously.

In other words, women, who often played the word game for pleasure, did not approach it as a cutthroat competition devoid of anything else.

Competitive male players said, according to The Times, that “rather than getting together with friends for a pleasant game,” they were predisposed toward analyzing past games, memorizing words and obscure rules, and studying anything else that would lend them an advantage.

Although one’s ability to engage in wordplay doesn’t appear to be reliant on gender— in fact, many studies have shown that women may have a more natural talent for language— this study does present some interesting issues for society to ponder.

For example, are men more inclined to be career-driven, contributing to the gender pay gap?

This argument might not even hold weight for this particular study, the researchers argue, as being a Scrabble champion isn’t particularly financially lucrative.

“There’s not a lot of money in Scrabble; it’s not like chess,” explains Dr. Jerad Moxley, the study’s lead researcher, to The Times. “So why would you even want to be the best Scrabble player in the world? You could argue it doesn’t make sense.”

It would appear as if many men, regardless of the nature of competition, have embodied Ricky Bobby’s famous maxim: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

The study’s findings were published in the journal Psychological Research.


    1. The idea the researchers and this news site are promoting is that competitive skills/drives are not part of “ability” despite the clear fact that they are.

      If you are left wing you want to see competition and competitive abilities as a negative. So say you have two subject in a completion where independent non competitive measures indicate they are equals. They want to say it is “unfair” “random “luck” — or better yet a pejorative like “dominance” that has the one with the more competitive skills and nature prevail.

      Essentially the worldview is that competitiveness is at best irrelevant and often wrong and the world would be better off with “participation awards”

      1. In other words, instead of accepting reality and being glad some people are especially talented and competent they deny it. They may get some kind of perverse satisfaction doing that but they are still either not as capable or not as motivated as the successful.
        How do they explain the socialist and communist leaders who are clearly more accomplished and capable than others?

        I hope your interpretation of them reaches more people…

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