A study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology states that male and female professional tennis players may very well operate differently under pressure in sanctioned matches. The work of four researchers led by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Danny Cohen-Zada, finds that such high-pressure situations may negatively affect ATP players more than they do WTA pros.
These findings arrive on the heels of research conducted on more than a thousand matches played at the 2010 Grand Slam events. Reading is believing, so check out a handy synopsis penned by BPS Research Digest editor Christian Jarrett, as well as the entirety of the original study itself.
Factored in: WTA players notably play best-of-three-sets matches at the majors, while men compete in best-of-five, among other things.
Factored out: fatigue; flat-out giving up (read: tanking); the respective, even disparate rankings of the two singles players in a particular match; the stakes, as all players in 2010 major singles play, male or female, earned the same amount of money each round; and more variables.
Ultimately, this quartet of researchers finds that ATP players "consistently choke" in high-pressure match situations. The so-called jury on their WTA peers reveals "mixed results." It's not that women's tennis pros don't choke at times.
As the research says, "Furthermore, even if women show a drop in performance in the more crucial stages of the match, it is in any event about 50 percent smaller than that of men."
These psychological researchers move with their findings from the realm of pro tennis to the everyday workplace, extending their scope–and, notably, the caveats of their data interpretations–to how men and women work in office settings. That is, directly alongside, with and against, each other rather than solely against people of their same gender as in pro singles tennis.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jonscott9.