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The myth of cooperative learning and the scourge of competition: Insights into girls' computer game

Dziurawiec, S., Davis, H. and van der Linden, N. (1999) The myth of cooperative learning and the scourge of competition: Insights into girls' computer game. In: 11th Australasian Human Development Conference, 8 - 10 July 1999, University of Sydney, N.S.W


In the light of recent findings regarding girls’ non-partici- pation in computer game play, with possible long-term consequences for their computer skills in adult life, this study examined factors contributing to girls’ computer game performance in a developmental context. Seven- and 9-year-old girls (N = 80) took part in two computer game sessions in which they played a specially designed game, ‘Paddle Pop’, in which players hit a wall of brightly coloured tiles using a ball and a paddle. In the first session, all girls played a solo version of the game. The girls were then divided into three play conditions: solo, cooperative and competitive. All girls were then posttested on the solo version. Performance was measured in terms of hit rate, miss rate and number of tiles hit. Results indicated that, generally, girls benefited most from solo play, least from competitive play, and moderately from cooperative play. However, the most beneficial play conditions were the solo condition for the younger or less able girls, and the cooperative condition for the older, more able girls. We suggest that cooperation may be inferior to solo learning on novel tasks for young children, and that competition is clearly detrimental for girls.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
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