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Why men are better than women at trivia

Regis Philbin once lamented that all his contestants were men. Jeopardy has an affirmative action program so that half of all new contestants are women. But why is it that trivia seems to be a man's game?

The University of Ulster at Coleraine has wondered about that, as well. Located in the northern part of Ireland, the university gave 1500 university students a 182-question general knowledge test, balanced to eliminate gender bias. Surprisingly, the men beat the women in just about every category, even in fashion. (The source suggests women prevailed either in "family" or in "medicine" and "cookery," it's a little unclear.)

Interestingly, the psychologists designed the study to eliminate other possible explanations, such as gender differences in memory or in IQ. The main explanation left appears to be that men see general knowledge tests as a competition with other males.

Interestingly, in the online game we run here, at least half the top players are female, and other research suggest that women are very much drawn to online gaming, provided that they are competing only with themselves. It may be that most trivia environments are too cut-throat for women, who prefer not to be surrounded by men competing to see who has the biggest ... brains.