Gender and social comparison effects in computer-based problem solving

Paul Light, Karen Littleton, Stuart Bale, Richard Joiner, David Messer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (SciVal)


Studied 11-12 yr olds working on a computer-based problem solving task. In Exp 1, 62 Ss worked in either same- or mixed-sex dyads, but each S had her or his own computer; no verbal interaction was allowed. Boys outperformed girls overall, with sex differences becoming significantly more polarized in the mixed-sex dyads. Exp 2 involved 96 Ss, with individual pre- and posttests, and compared co-action dyads (as in Exp 1) with interaction pairs in which the pair members worked together at a single computer with no restriction on interaction. The polarization of sex differences in the mixed sex dyads was once again found in the co-action condition, but not in the interaction condition. Results are interpreted in terms of processes of social comparison, which appear to be more potent in this situation than any straightforward domination of resources. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-496
Number of pages14
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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