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05-06-2003, 09:30 AM
Some people have asked for more information about my project, so I am posting the discussion section of my paper. It should state what hypothesises were supported and which were not and why.
Discussion
The purpose of this study was to determine if the gender of the participant, gender of the opponent, or skill level had an effect on how participants would express emotions, display competitive attitudes, and make attributions. When looking at how emotions are expressed I hypothesized that: females would express emotions more often than males. Also, the higher the skill level of the participant the less often emotions would be expressed and female participants would be less emotional when their opponent was of the opposite sex. When looking at how competitive attitudes are express I hypothesized that males would express competitive attitudes more often than females. Also, experienced participants will express competitive attitudes more often than novice participants, and participants would express competitive attitudes more often when their opponent was the opposite sex than when it was the same sex. When examining how participants made egotistical attributions, I hypothesized that males would be more likely to make egotistical attributions than females. Participants who were competing against the opposite sex would be more likely to make egotistical attributions than those who competed against the same sex, and experienced participants would be more likely than novice participants to make egotistical attributions.
In examining gender of participants to determine if competitive situations affect emotional expressions, it was found, as hypothesized, that females express emotions more frequently than males. These findings support the findings of pervious research (Bauer et al, 2003; Brebner, 2003; Yoo, 2001). Contrary to the hypothesis, skill level and gender of opponent did not appear to have an effect on how participants expressed emotions. The gender of the opponent does not appear to effect the emotional expressions of women. For future research it may be interesting to see how males would respond if they could not avoid the emotional questions on the survey. Participants did not have to type anything in the “feelings box” on the survey. Many participants responded by simply saying none, others suggested that emotions interfere with their game so they will not answer the question. Some responded with statements that had nothing to do with feelings or emotions. For example, one participant stated “I’ll be shooting soon” in the “feelings box.” I suspect that emotions were present (or would be in an actual game), but that participants did not acknowledge them. If there were a way for responses to be coded where we could infer emotions from thoughts and actions, then I am confident that there would be more emotional responses for many of the participants. For example, one of the participants stated “I truly suck; the cue ball is not even close to where I wanted it.” This statement seems to suggest that he is frustrated or having feelings of inadequacy; however, the emotion was not clearly stated, so it was scored as “no response.” It would be interesting to see if males are having the same emotions as females or are they really emotionless when competing. Coding responses in a way where emotions could be inferred could be very helpful in future research.
Skill level by itself did not effect how participants displayed competitive attitudes. Results indicated that novice participants were just as competitive as experienced participants. These finding may be due to the idea that participants who are not experience at shooting pool may be experienced at other competitive activities. It could be that being experienced in one competitive activity could cause people to be competitive in areas where that do not have experience. Also, the experienced group contained a wide range of experienced participants. Some participants compete in local pool leagues and some compete for a living. Having a larger sample would allow this group to be broken down into more defined levels of experience.
In examining how participants displayed competitive attitudes gender of participant did not have an effect. There was no evidence to support Kegan’s (1964) research. Kegan (1964) had found evidence that males were more competitive than females when challenged by an individual (male or female) or problem. Freischlag (1973) found evidence to support these findings only when individuals were competing against the same sex; however, females became more aggressive when competing against the opposite sex. The findings of this study indicate that gender of opponent alone does not affect the level of competitiveness displayed.
Results did not support the idea that females would be less competitive when competing against the opposite sex. Results were not significant; however, when females were competing against the opposite sex (15 participants), 203 competitive responses were given. When females competed against the same sex (13 participants), 116 competitive responses were given. These results show trends that are similar to Freischlag’s (1973) findings; females were more competitive when competing against the opposite sex. If the sample size were larger, a significant difference may have been found.
Evidence was found that gender of the opponent did have an effect on competitive attitudes when looking at the skill level of the participant. It was found that novice participants displayed competitive attitudes more often when competing against females than males and experienced participants displayed competitive attitudes more often when competing against males than females. It may be that participants with no experience competing in the game of pool would assume that women are not as competent as men to shoot pool. They may believe that it they stay focused and play aggressively they might have a chance; however, when competing against a male they may assume that no matter what they do they will lose, so they just give up. Many of the novice participants obviously gave up. For example, one participant states “Hang my head, realizing I am beat…She’s gonna win… Everyone always beats me at pool…. I suck.” Experienced participants may believe that it will be easy to win against a female, but feel that they will need to be focused/aggressive (competitive) to win against the more competent (in their view), male. These beliefs may stem from the idea that men are physically stronger, in many cases, then women, thus giving them the advantage in physical sports. While working on this project I heard many people discus gender issues in pool. Some of these people have suggested that it is social constructs keeping women the minority in billiards. These beliefs may seem to be supported because men are the prominent figures we see shooting pool. We assume that men must be better than women because more men play. Most do not give consideration to poolrooms being unwelcoming to women. It seems to be believed that this inconvenience keeps women from learning at an early age. Most men who achieve a high level of success start shooting at a very young age. Women tend to pick up the game later in life, which restricts the amount of time that is spent developing their skill. The above findings are especially true for male participants; it may be because women participants, even if they are not experienced, would know that they are just as capable (physically) to compete in the game of pool. In future research it could be determined if it is the belief that men are physically stronger and therefore better at sports that are causing theses differences. Some participants could be given a survey with information about women being competent competitors in the game of pool, while others receive this survey only.
Results appeared to support the hypothesis that experienced participants were more likely than novice participants to make egotistical attributions. This finding is most likely due to the idea that experienced participants care more about winning than novice participants. They are less likely to give up a win or admit that they did not play the better game. It is true that participants competing against the opposite sex are more likely to make egotistical attributions. Looking at male participants; this is especially true for experienced participants. Stephan et al (1976) found that females competing against males did not make egotistical attributions. The findings in this study contradict these pervious findings that female participants, especially experienced, made egotistical attributions when they competed against the opposite sex. This contradiction is most likely due to the changing roles and stereotypes of women. It would be interesting to see if Gill’s (1980) study would be affected by these changes as well. This could be determined, in the future by telling some participants that they are on a team, while giving others this survey. This manipulation would reveal whether Gill’s (1980) results still stand; that gender does not affect attributions when competing on a team.
Results did not support the idea that the more experienced the participant, the less likely gender would bias them. It may be that gender did not bias those who are experts, who shoot pool for a living, but it did for those who shoot in local pool leagues, who are better than average. A larger sample would allow for the experienced group to be broken down into these more defined groups. Those who shoot pool for a living at the expert level surely have competed against many competent women and know that neither gender has an advantage when shooting pool.
So, Kegan (1964) and Freischlag (1973) found that females were not competitive when competing against females. Freischlag (1973) found some evidence indicating that females were aggressive when competing against males. Stephan (1976) found that females did not make egotistical attributions when competing against males. These findings were not supported in this study. These contradictions are most likely due to changes in sex role prescriptions. Kegan’s (1964), Freischlag’s (1973), and Stephan’s et al (1976) studies were conducted before the results of Title IV could be seen. Title IV has had a large impact on women’s participation in sports. The findings in this study indicate that today, most likely because of the impact of Title IV, it is more acceptable for females to display competitive attitudes and make egotistical attributions.

In future studies, it would be better to use a Wei table to diagram the game. Players need more information than given in the photographs to know what is going on in the game. The Wei table is a more effective way to show exactly what is going on in a game of pool. Another aspect to consider in future studies is that the use of birthdays as a grouping variable seems to confuse and aggravate people. Many comments were made by the expert participants about the use of birthdays. They did not understand that it is used as a way to randomly place participants with an opponent. One person decided not to participate because they thought that I was trying to find a connection between astrological signs and game strategy. There are other ways to randomly place people that would cause less controversy. Also, people responded with comments that suggest that the thoughts, feelings, and actions questions were worded made it hard to respond. It might be better to ask people to describe what is going through their head as they are playing a game of pool. This is essentially what I asked, but with some guidance the present way may have been more confusing than helpful.
These results may be helpful to understand the differences in how men and women compete. Situations where men and women will compete against one another will be come more and more common. Understanding what situations make us behave more competitively will be helpful in the work place. This knowledge could be used by employers to motivate their employees.
Also, these findings may provide insight about how pool players deicide whether to compete in competitions that include the opposite sex or that exclude the opposite sex. We now know that social reasons, such as money and sponsors are not the only factors effecting female participation in billiards. The gender of the opponent could have an effect on a person’s game. Although the reason why this effect occurs is due to social constructs it could still have real consequences on a person’s game.
Another interesting aspect of this study is that we are able to see the effect of Title Nine. It is obvious from this study that the increased female participation in sports, which was caused by Title IV, has had an effect on how competitive attitudes of women are displayed. This is further evidence to support the idea that many differences that occur between men and women are do to socialization.
Also, when interpreting the results of this study it is important to understand that gender is part of an interrelationship. Wade and Tavris (1999) suggest that “the lives of women and men differ from one culture to another. The anatomy of sex is universal, but the behaviors, rights, and responsibilities considered appropriate for males and females are social inventions that vary enormously around the globe. These gender arrangements are not arbitrary, but rather depend on the economic realities and other practical conditions of life.” When conducting research about gender race, ethnicity, and economic status of the participants must be taken into consideration. Due to the small number of participants in this study it was not possible to do so. The results of this study, which attribute differences to gender, may actually be due to ethnicity, economic status, or/and or other conditions of life.
In conclusion:
1. Females will express emotions more often than males.
2. The skill level of the participant will not effect how emotions are expressed.
3. The gender of the opponent will not have an effect on how emotions are expressed.
4. Males will not display competitive attitudes more often than females, unless they are competing against the opposite sex.
5. Participants will express competitive attitudes more often when their opponent is of the opposite sex depending on skill level and gender of participant.
6. Experienced participants will not express competitive attitudes than novice participants, unless their opponent is of the opposite sex.
7. Males will be more likely to make egotistical attributions than females.
8. Participants who are competing against the opposite sex will be more likely to make egotistical attributions than those who compete against the same sex.
9. Experienced participants will be more likely than novice participants to make egotistical attributions.