Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Gender Differences in Competition: A Non-Linear examination of performance and learning

Class

Article

Department

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Faculty Mentor

Breanna Studenka

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Cameron S. Olsen, Natalie L. Ferguson, Breanna E. Studenka, Travis E. Dorsch, Richard D. Gordin Examination of behaviors evolution over time, rather than at one specific point in time, can lend insight into the underlying state of the system (e.g., a more regular heartbeat is seen in those with heart pathology and greater regularity of force tracking is seen in those with Parkinson's (Ofori et al., 2010; Pincus & Goldberger, 1994). It is possible that variability of a continuously controlled aspect of performance might decrease in a competitive situation. The implications of changes in motor variability during performance are not yet well understood. Research has shown differences in the attitudes and expectations held by males and females in competitive situations (Croxton, 1987; Van Loo 2013). Specifically, male subjects exhibit more competitive attributes (i.e. ego orientation) in sport settings than females. Despite these findings, performance is often similar across genders (Croxton 1987). In light of these findings, we conducted a study to better understand how competition against same- and different-sex competitors affects the non-linear variability of motor control for an isometric force tracking task. On three separate days, participants completed 25 trials of practice, 21 trials of competition, and 5 trials to measure retention.The irregularity of motor behavior (ApEn) significantly increased for both female and male subjects when the competitor was of opposite gender. In addition, ApEn significantly increased on Day 3 over Day 1 for all pairings except when a female subject was paired with male competitor. Overall, performance also increased (lower RMSE) for all pairings, but less for females paired with males. Because increased ApEn is typically viewed as indicating more adaptive and automatic behavior, these findings could indicate that females who compete against males do not learn as much as individuals in other pairings. Future studies will need to delineate whether an increase in regularity of performance directly represents a psychological variable such as performance anxiety or learned helplessness.

Start Date

4-9-2015 3:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 3:00 PM

Gender Differences in Competition: A Non-Linear examination of performance and learning

Cameron S. Olsen, Natalie L. Ferguson, Breanna E. Studenka, Travis E. Dorsch, Richard D. Gordin Examination of behaviors evolution over time, rather than at one specific point in time, can lend insight into the underlying state of the system (e.g., a more regular heartbeat is seen in those with heart pathology and greater regularity of force tracking is seen in those with Parkinson's (Ofori et al., 2010; Pincus & Goldberger, 1994). It is possible that variability of a continuously controlled aspect of performance might decrease in a competitive situation. The implications of changes in motor variability during performance are not yet well understood. Research has shown differences in the attitudes and expectations held by males and females in competitive situations (Croxton, 1987; Van Loo 2013). Specifically, male subjects exhibit more competitive attributes (i.e. ego orientation) in sport settings than females. Despite these findings, performance is often similar across genders (Croxton 1987). In light of these findings, we conducted a study to better understand how competition against same- and different-sex competitors affects the non-linear variability of motor control for an isometric force tracking task. On three separate days, participants completed 25 trials of practice, 21 trials of competition, and 5 trials to measure retention.The irregularity of motor behavior (ApEn) significantly increased for both female and male subjects when the competitor was of opposite gender. In addition, ApEn significantly increased on Day 3 over Day 1 for all pairings except when a female subject was paired with male competitor. Overall, performance also increased (lower RMSE) for all pairings, but less for females paired with males. Because increased ApEn is typically viewed as indicating more adaptive and automatic behavior, these findings could indicate that females who compete against males do not learn as much as individuals in other pairings. Future studies will need to delineate whether an increase in regularity of performance directly represents a psychological variable such as performance anxiety or learned helplessness.