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Bias for proximity and gender in the voting patterns of contestants in the TV quiz-show ‘The Weakest Link’

By Paul Goddard


Field studies based on television quiz-shows are free from the kinds of demand characteristics and ethical concerns that can sometimes blight experimental work. Further, they are effectively double-blind, so providing a useful empirical test-bed for theories in social psychology, decision making and economics.\ud \ud The popular TV quiz-show The Weakest Link (WL) has already been used to assess the optimal banking strategy in an analysis of economic decision making (Haan, Los and Riyanto (In press)); as a test of gender and race discrimination in voting practice (Levitt, 2004; Antonovics, Arcidiacono & Walsh, 2005); to investigate the trade-off between risk and return strategies in game playing (Barmish & Boston, 2009); and to show ‘neighbour avoidance’ in first round voting (Goddard, Ashley, Fuller & Hudson, 2011). A similar procedure was used here to measure the voting behaviour of contestants as a function of the proximity of the voter to the candidate voted for and as a function of their gender. The aim was to test for proximity and/or gender biases in voting patterns

Topics: C800 Psychology, C830 Experimental Psychology
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:6969

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  1. (2005). Games and discrimination: Lessons from ‘The Weakest Link’. doi
  2. (2011). Love Thy Neighbour: Proxemic bias in the voting strategy of contestants in the TV quiz-show ‘The Weakest Link’. Paper presented at IAREP
  3. (2004). Testing theories of discrimination: Evidence from the Weakest Link. doi

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