Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Science claims this is why your male friends are better at Scrabble than you

scrabble skills gender.jpg

You may have noticed a difference in how you play Scrabble compared to other family members come Christmas. Are you a hoarder, holding out for that impressive seven-letter word? Are your energies focused on blocking your fellow players from lucrative scores? Do you specialise in that unique gut-punch of extending someone else’s word in a simple yet devastating move?

No matter our particular technique, a new study says there could be a big factor that influences how we approach the popular board game: our gender.

Research from University of Miami found that men are more successful at Scrabble on a professional level (data was taken from the National Scrabble Championship).

But given men and women take the same benefit from ‘purposeful practice’, there must be another reason for the disparity – and according to the study, it’s because women largely choose to practice by playing the game and enjoying it rather than analysing it.

scrabble gender comparison

In conclusion, the paper reads: “We have proposed how large gender differences can be attributed to differences in the methods of skill acquisition as opposed to the capacity for skill acquisition or the rates of skill acquisition.”

In layman’s terms, the researchers say there was a difference in how men and women approached their practice hours.

According to The Times, Jerad Moxley and his team surveyed just over 250 participants about practice, and compared it to their game ratings.

Read more: Study concludes women are “better suited” to leadership than men

But rather than assume women are inefficient in practice, he says it could be more likely that women don’t see professional Scrabble as worth their time.

He tells the newspaper: “There’s not a lot of money in Scrabble; it’s not like chess.

“So why would you even want to be the best Scrabble player in the world? You could argue it doesn’t make sense.”

He added: “Just because there is a huge gender difference, it doesn’t mean there is a huge ability gap.”

Given the study focuses on a relatively small sample of participants, who self-reported on how they partook in professional tournaments from 2004 and 2008, it’s difficult to draw the conclusion that men are simply better at board games – the line some media outlets have taken (leading to the usual slew of Twitter users claiming victory over feminism). So don’t let anything put you off your annual Boxing Day showdown.

Images: iStock


music chills study brain special.jpg

Study finds if music gives you chills, your brain is pretty special


Gender studies professor destroys that viral Hurricane Harvey tweet


The important reason this woman wants to test your period blood


29 autumn tattoos that capture the magic of the golden season

Think woodland illustrations and sunset hues

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

The greatest life lessons from The Princess Bride

It's been 30 years since it first hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
26 Sep 2017

These are the four skills you should highlight on your CV

According to the world's top CEOs

by Helen Brown
26 Sep 2017

This woman’s post encourages others to call out sexual harassment

“He tilted his phone up... enough for me to see the picture of my ass”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Trump rates Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway in newly released tapes

“I don’t think she’s got good skin. I don’t think she’s got a great face.”

by Amy Swales
26 Sep 2017

Depressingly, this TV moment attracted the most complaints of 2017

Don’t we all have bigger things to worry about than this?

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Sep 2017

This TV show has been voted reigning champion of the last 20 years

And no, it's not Friends

by Megan Murray
26 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Pretty Woman: The Musical

We already can’t wait for this

by Moya Crockett
26 Sep 2017

Why you'll never fancy that person who REALLY likes you

According to experts

by Nicola Colyer
26 Sep 2017

Krispy Kreme launches seriously spooky doughnuts for Halloween

Trick AND treat, all in one

by Susan Devaney
26 Sep 2017