Sex-role identification, "Motive to Avoid Success," and competitive performance in College women


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Sex-role identification, "Motive to Avoid Success," and competitive performance in College women
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Crummer, Mary Lewis
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Thesis -- University of Florida.
Bibliography: leaves 76-80.
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Sex-Role Identification, "Motive to Avoid Success,"
and Competitive Performance in College Women






Each member of my committee, Professors Jacquelin

Goldman, Audrey Schumaker, Marvin Shaw, and William Purkey,

is appreciated for contributing help, interest, and encour-

agement. Especially warm appreciation is felt toward Dr. Harry

Grater, Chairman, for his trusting and democratic filling of

that position.

Dr. C. Michael Levy, Dr. Madeline Hamey, and Sally

Bolce were generous with their time and expertise in helping

with the statistics involved in this dissertation, for which

I am grateful.

I am grateful to the subjects who participated in

this study, and apologize to them for their "slave labor"


My husband, Art, has been a constant source of en-

couragement, helping in many ways. Without his willingness

to carry more than his "share of the load," this project

would never have reached fruitio.i. Adam Thor, my son, is

due a special mention of my gratitude for his acceptance or

endurance of the times when "Mama" was working.

Finally, many thanks are due to my mother and father,

who have encouraged me in the "motive to achieve" through-

out my life.



LIST OF TABLES ............. ........ iv

ABSTRACT . . . v



The Problem . . 1
Sex Differences on Cognitive Tasks . 4
Sex-Role Conflict and Achievement .... .. 10
Personality Theory .. ................ 15
Achievement Motivation Literature . ... 20
/Competition .............. .. .... .24
Social Learning as Theoretical Context . 26
Hypotheses .................. ... 27

II METHODOLOGY ...................... 33

Subjects . .
Procedure ............... .
Scrambled Words . .
Motive to Avoid Success .

III- RESULTS ................ .. .40

IV DISCUSSION .. ...... ...... 49

hypotheses. ....
Competition-Implications .
Sexual Role-Implications .

............ 49
S. . 56
. . 57

APPENDIX................. .......... 59

REFFHENCES .. . . .76

BIOGCAPHICAL SKETCH. ..... ... .. 81


Table Page
1 Scrambled Words Competition-
Non-competition by Sex . 40

2 "Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery
According to Sex of Cue and Sex
of Subject ...... ... .. 41

.y Analysis of Variance of Scrambled Words
Task Scores as a Function of Sex of
Subject, Sex of Partner, and Competition-
Non-competition .. . 42

4 Tabulation of Original "Motive to Avoid
Success" Lead by Sex of Subject and
Sex of Cue Character ... .. . 43

/ Female "Motive to Avoid Success"
Imagery to Female Cues and Competition-
Non-competition Difference ...... 44

Male "Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery to
Male Cues and Competition-Non-competition
Difference.. *. . 44

Female Subjects' Terman-Miles Scores and
Competition-Non-competition Difference
Scores . .. .... 46

8 Female Subjects' Terman-Miles Scores and
"Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery to
Female Cues . . 46

9 Sex Composition of Female Subjects'
Major and Terman-Miles Scores ....... 47

10 Female Subjects' Educational Ambitions
and Terman-Miles Scores ........... 48

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Mary Lewis Crummer

June, 1972

Chairman: Professor H. A. Grater
Department of Psychology

The literature on achievement differences between men and

women, six differences in cognitive skills, and achievement motiva-

tion for women was reviewed for evidence and definition of women's

lack of ambition and achievement in terms of status, power, or income.

The learned social role of a woman was presented in the review as a

major deterrent to success, especially in competitive situations.

A Scrambled Words Task was given to 48 undergraduate male

and 48 female psychology students in both competitive and non-competi-

tive conditions. Verbal leads modified after the TAT were used to

measure "motive to avoid success" (a concept developed by Matina

Horner), projected to both male and female leads by both male and

female subjects.

SMen did not make higher scores in the competitive situation,

contrary to expectation. Subjects of both sexes who scored higher in

the competitive than in the non-competitive situation produced more

"motive to avoid succues" imagery to same-sex cues than subjects with

higher scores in the non-competitive situation. The total number of

"motive to avoid success" projections to female cues was greater than

to male cues.

Female subjects' scores on the Terman-Miles M-F related

significantly to sex composition of major (more masculine scorers

choosing majors containing more men) and showed strong non-signifi-

cant trends for masculine scorers to be more educationally ambitious

and showed more "motive to avoid success" imagery.

The Terman-Miles scores for females were closer to the mid-

point (less feminine) than in the standardization sample of 1938.


The Problem

Women can be considered as being by far the largest group

of underachievers in our society. If performance is measured by

standards generally thought to measure success, such as income,

power, or status, the amount of each commanded by the 51 percent

of the population which is female is seen to be strikingly less

than that commanded by the male part of the population.1

Considering the group upon which this paper will focus,

college-educated women, the relative equality in ability and

inequality of performance in striking. Epstein (1970) concludes:

"Our best women, in whom society has invested most heavily, under-

perform, underachieve, and underproduce."

Some objective descriptions of the situation of college

women and how their situation differs from that of the male have

been offered. On vocational interest tests, there are differ-

ences in the types of fields in which male and female students

indicate interest. The choices closely parallel the cultural

stereotype of masculinity and femininity. On the Kuder Preference

Record, males, on the average, show stronger preferences for

mechanical, persuasive, and computational work, while females

favor literary, musical, artistic, social service, and clerical

areas (Traxler and McCall, 1941). On the Allport-Vernon-Lindzey

Study of Values, men generally show a preference for theoretical,

economic, and political values, interpreted as indicating interest

in abstract ideas and practical success, and a strong desire for

prestige, influence, and power as life goals. Women show a

greater interest in art, a stronger emphasis on religion, and a

greater concern for the welfare of others as life goals, as indi-

cated by their higher scores in the aesthetic, social, and religious

categories (Didato and Kennedy, 1956).2

These test preferences reflect differences in the college

majors and vocational choices of males and females. The United

States Department of Labor reports (1962) that "the subjects in

which the largest number of men earned their degrees were quite

different from those chosen by women, except for an overlapping

area in the social sciences." Men earned more than nine-tenths r

of the degrees in engineering, agriculture, law, medicine, and

business, and about nine-tenths of the degrees in physical

sciences and pharmacy. Men earn three-fourths of the degrees in

biological sciences and mathematics. Women are in the majority in

education, English, journalism, and foreign languages, and earn

almost all the degrees in home economics and nursing.

As the above report might indicate, female college students

tend to choose majors which may be considered extensions of the

female role. This tendency seems to be greater, the more advanced

the girl is in college. A group of gifted girls who had chosen

science as a major upon entering college were examined upon gradua-

tion. A majority of even these girls were graduating in social

work, education, nursing, or home economics (Ross's study of

Michigan State undergraduates, as reported by Epstein, 1970). Even

with this change of majors, Ross reported that the majority of the

girls still had no specific career plans to which they were com-

mitted as lifetime goals., The same lack of definiteness in college

women concerning careers was reported in a study by Rose (1951).

She questioned students concerning their expectations for adult

roles and came to the general conclusion that there was inconsis-

tency, lack of definiteness, and lack of realism among a signifi-

cant proportion of women college students concerning their expecta-

tions about their adult roles. Many of these girls indicated

that they expected to be intensively involved in an unrealistically

large spectrum of activities.

Plans after college graduation differ considerably for

college men and women. College women with "A" averages resembled

"B" average men in plans for graduate work. Women with "A" and "B"

averages resembled "C" men in proportions to who were undecided or

had no plans for advanced education (Bernard, 1964).

In her study of women with Ph.D.'s, Bailyn (1964) notes

that many professional women are unattached to institutions, a

situation making motivation for academic achievement difficult to

keep up. She also notes that a married woman's professional de-

cision can be revoked at any time without social sanctions, unlike

the largely irrevokable commitment of men. Marriage and children

are major factors in determining women Ph.D.'s occupations. While

96 percent of unmarried female Ph.D.'s work full time, 87 percent

of married female Ph.D.'s without children work full time, and

59 percent of married women Ph.D.'s with children work full time

(Simon, Clark, and Galway, 1967). These authors also note that

women are more likely than men to be employed at colleges rather

than universities, in atmospheres usually not as conducive to

academic productivity. This fact is also mentioned by Bernard

(1964),as she notes that, when position is controlled for, women

are as productive as men, but women tend to gravitate to less

productive positions.

The reviewed studies picture the college-or postgraduate-

educated woman as being less academically ambitious than her male

counterpart. Literature from varying areas contributes to an

understanding of why this might be.

Sex Differences on Cognitive Tasks

Carlson and Carlson (1960) indict the psychological litera-

ture for being spectacularly poorly designed by reason of its

failing to take sex differences into account. They express the

frustration of the researcher interested in sex differences in

noting that for the years reviewed (1958-1960) only around 10

percent of the articles in the Journal of Abnormal and Social

Psychology reported the sex of the subjects and reported data by


Notwithstanding the loss of immense amounts of information

due to faulty reporting procedures, there is a literature concern-

ing sex differences in cognitive skills. One of the most consist-

ent findings is that men generally exhibit greater facility in

problem-solving than women (Sweeney, 1953, in a review of the

literature). Milton (1959), in a later review, notes that, even

when differences in intellectual aptitude, academic training, and

special abilities are controlled for, men's superiority over

women in problem-solving still holds.

Even in the preschool years, sex differences in approach to

intellectual tasks have been found. When given IQ tests,preschool

girls initially tended to meet the unfamiliar situation more

adaptively, orienting quickly to directions and tasks, but, as the

tasks became more difficult, this sex difference was reversed

and girls became less integrated, more anxious, and more evasive

than boys (Moriarty, 1961). When preschool children were permitted

freely to ask questions, boys asked more "why" and "how" questions

spontaneously, while girls more frequently asked for information

about social rules and conventional ways of applying labels to

objects (Smith, 1933), indicating that differences in the frame

of mind necessary for successful problem-solving may be present

at an early age.

Moriarty's findings concerning girls' problems on more

difficult tasks are corroborated by the research of Crandall and

Rabson (1960) and McMannis (1965), using older children. They

found that boys six to eight years old and boys in the fifth and

sixth grades, respectively, would choose more often than girls

of the same ages to return to a difficult rather than an easy task.

While approach to tasks, especially difficult tasks, shows

sex differences at an early age, which one might try to relate

to adult differences, such as academic major choice, it must be

mentioned that the school performance record of children does not

reflect these differences.4 There are few achievement differences,

on the average, between boys and girls prior to the high school

level; if any slight differences are shown, they seem to favor the

girls. At the beginning high school level, girls begin to do

poorer on a few intellectual tasks, such as arithmetical reasoning.

Beyond the high school level, the achievement of women, now

measured in terms of accomplishment, drops off rapidly (Maccoby,


Further elaboration of developmental achievement histories

is presented by Lewin (1965) in his study of underachieving high

school students. He found that underachieving boys showed a con-

sistent history of underachievement, dating from early in their

elementary school careers, while underachieving girls' grades were

more likely to have dropped at the onset of puberty.

Developmentally, in summary, girls achieve in school as well

or better than boys until high school age, or around puberty.

Differences in problem-solving, particularly in reference to diffi-

cult problems, are present at an early age. These finds imply

that, unless one believes there are "innate" differences in the

cognitive abilities of the sexes, there are early differences in

the way children are socialized with reference to cognitive skills.

These differences in socialization may become much more salient

at the time of puberty, when awareness of sex-role becomes more


Other research has examined adult sex differences in prob-

lem-solving ability in an attempt to explain these differences.

Milton (1959) suggested that the sex differences might be an

artifact of research methods. He noted that problems conventional

to research in the area are typically masculine in content. He

designed two sets of problems in which the task was the same but

the content of one set masculine and the other set feminine (e.g.,

how to divide a board vs. how to divide cookie dough). He found

that the men still solved, on the average, more problems than did

women, irrespective of problem content; but the difference be-

tween male and female problem-solving ability was reduced by more

than one-half on the problems designated as female-appropriate

as compared to male-appropriate problems, indicating that the size

of the sex difference in problem-solving ability may be affected by

experimental bias. But the direction and significance of the

difference remains despite the bias-in fact, even if the bias is


Carey (1955) took a different approach in trying to explain

the male-female problem-solving performance discrepancy. She be-

lieved that sex differences in problem-solving performance which

are not the result of differences in general intelligence, special

aptitudes, or information are attributable to differences in

attitude toward problem-solving. Using a Likert-type scale, she

measured attitude toward problem-solving. Men received signifi-

cantly higher scores on this attitude scale than did women (indi-

cating a more favorable attitude toward problem-solving). Groups

of three men and three women then discussed the factors involved

in problem-solving success. An administration of another atti-

tude scale followed, along with a problem-solving retest. Men

had received, as usual, superior scores on the original problem-

solving task. They still received higher scores than the women on

the retest, but the women significantly narrowed the gap on the

retest. Women's attitudes toward problem-solving were changed

after the discussion significantly more than men's attitudes.

Garai (1958) also points out the influence of attitude as

he comments in his review article: "Males generally exhibit

greater problem-solving motivation than females throughout life.

They seem to regard the solution of a problem as a challenge

rather than a threat."

Milton (1957) offers a hypothesis which is consistent with

the conjecture that attitude influences problem-solving skill,

yet uses different terms. Milton suggests that differences in

problem-solving skill between men and women may be due, at least

in part, to a set of learned behaviors that characterize a cul-

turally defined sex-role, and that, further, the more an indi-

vidual identifies with the masculine sex-role, the greater will

be his problem-solving skill. Using problems requiring set

changing and numerical problems (which in the literature have

been shown to be strong points of nale subjects) balanced by

direct and non-numerical problems (female strong points), Milton

designed a forty-problem test. He administered the Terman-Miles

M-F Scale to the subjects and found that scores on this scale

accounted for a significant part of the difference between men

and women in problem-solving skill-in fact, diminishing the dif-

ference to the point of non-significance. The Terman-Miles Scale

was also significantly related to within-sex problem-solving dif-

ferences. Milton's hypothesis was confirmed and he further

commented: "The female child, even though possessing adequate

intellect and opportunity to learn, will probably not develop

problem-solving skills if she forms an appropriate identifica-

tion with the feminine role, because this type of problem-solving

is not appropriate to the female sex-role in her culture."

Research relating performance on an anagrams task to the

Gough M-F scores also supports the sex-role identification theory.

Women with more masculine orientations measured by the Gough

test had higher n-achievement scores and higher performance

scores than did women with more feminine orientations (Lipinski,

1960). French (1964), however, devised a questionnaire measur-

ing the extent to which females value the woman's role and the

extent to which women value intellectual achievement. Scores

on this questionnaire were not related to performance on an

anagramn task.

In summary, there is a sex difference in problem-solving

performance. Some, but not all, of the difference may be accounted

for by the sex appropriateness of the problems. Attitude toward

problem-solving seems to be one of the variables operating.

Several studies relate problem-solving skill to sex-role identi-

fication, but one study failed to find a relation.

Sex-Role Conflict and Achievement

A number of authors in areas other than cognitive skills

have commented on the intellectual performance record of women,

citing the incompatibilities in our culture between intellectual

achievement and the approved sex-role for females.

Bettelheim (1962) comments:

The ways in which we bring up many girls in
America, and the goals we set for them are so
strangely and often painfully contradictory that
it is only too predictable that their expecta-
tion of love and work and marriage should fre-
quently be confused and that deep satisfactions
should elude them .The female who needs
and wants a man is often placed in a sadly
absurd position: she must shape herself to
please a complex male image of what she should
be like, but alas it is often an image having
little to do with her own real desires or po-
tentialities. Boys have no doubt that
their schooling is intended, at least, to help
them make a success in their mature life, to
enable them to accomplish something in the
outside world. But the girl is made to feel
she must undergo precisely the same training
only because she may need it if she is a fail-
ure, an unfortunate who somehow cannot gain
admission to the haven of marriage and mother-
hood where she properly belongs.

Several studies agree that college women feel that intellec-

tual competence-or even a strong individual identity-is consid-

ered a detriment to marriage. Wallin (1960) reports that only

35 percent of the Stanford girls he interviewed thought it not

at all damaging to a girl's chances for dates if she is known

to be outstanding in academic work. A substantial number (40-

50 percent) of the girls interviewed said they felt called upon

to pretend inferiority to college men.

Komarvosky (1946), using extensive autobiographical and

interview data, describes the incompatibilities of the feminine

role and the demands of college. Although there were many

individual differences in the amount of conflict expressed by

her subjects, most had felt the stress of the knowledge that

the full realization of one role threatens defeat in the other.

The girls perceived the contradictory pressures as coming from

parents as well as from society in general.5

Douvan and Adelson (1966), in speaking of identity forma-

tion in the adolescent female, indicate that it is a much more

difficult process than for the male. "Too sharp a self-defini-

tion, and too full an investment in an unique personality inte-

gration are not considered to be desirable traits in a woman in

our society and may handicap the girl in her search for a suitable


Even if the college girl or professional woman were aware

of the coercive forces in society forcing her to a dichotomy of

intellectual achievement and fulfillment of affiliative needs,

she could not dismiss these messages as solely unfounded preju-

dice. The fears of parents that their intellectual daughters

will not marry have firm basis in fact. According to Simon's

(1967) study of recent Ph.D.'s, 50 percent of women Ph.D.'s are

unmarried, a state not shared by male Ph.D.'s, of whom 95 percent

are married.

Heilbrun (1963) specifies the differences in the role re-

quired of a feminine person and the qualities required by the

college experience. He says that girls from a young age are

likely to be rewarded for deferent, passive, dependent, and

nurturant modes of behavior, while the college experience requires

the more masculine attributes of competitiveness, independence,

and assertiveness. He compared each girl's Edwards items report-

ing behavior and her rated social desirability of each behavior

in order to get a measure of the consistency between the values

that a girl may hold and her reported behavior. The one area of

great inconsistency for females was on the achievement-oriented

items. This inconsistency may represent a major disruptive in-

fluence in the female student's adjustment to college, Heilbrun

conjectures. Singer (1961) agrees. In an article on emotional

disturbances among college women, he stresses the incompatibility

between the female role and success in college as a major source

of emotional difficulties in college women>

Maccoby (1963) concurs, saying: !f a girl does succeed

in maintaining the qualities of dominance, independence, and

active striving that appear requisites for good analytic thinking,

in so doing she is defying conventions concerning what is appro-

priate behavior for her sex." Maccoby believes that, if a girl

is successful intellectually, she must pay a price in anxiety,

This anxiety, she says, helps to account for a lack of produc-

tivity among those women who do make intellectual careers.

While most psychologists dealing with the problem, including

those reviewed up to this point in this paper, have started with

the premise that there is a difference between men and women in

achievement or the attainment of success, not all writers agree.

Some suggest that lower achievement or achievement motivation

among females is primarily a result of psychologists' male defi-

nition of achievement. They contend that achievement means dif-

ferent things for the two sexes.

Zazzo (1962),/in reporting upon questionnaires given to

French adolescents, concludes that each sex has a different

definition of what constitutes success in life. For males,

success is determined by wealth, prestige, and vocational ad-

vancement; for females, by the ability to be loved, make friends,

and enjoy satisfying relations with people.,

In a review of the literature, Garai and Scheinfeld (1968)

cite findings from a wide variety of studies as converging

"toward the conclusion that girls and women are motivated by

affiliative needs, while boys and men are chiefly spurred on by

the achievement needs in their search for satisfaction and happi-

ness in life."'

French and Lesser (1964) discuss the lack of a consistent

theory of achievement motivation in women. They speculate that

what is achievement for a woman is less universal than for a man,

saying, "Even highly motivated girls holding social or homemaking

goals could not be expected to strive to excel at intellectual


Parsons and Bales (1955) use the structure of the family in

describing the different areas in which success or competence is

experienced for males and females. They describe the family as a

mother-father unit with specific role distribution. "The mother

role is concerned with the expression and satisfaction of emo-

tional longings. She becomes the 'social-emotional specialist'

who regulates the interpersonal relations in the nuclear family,

while the main role of the father is that of 'task specialist'

who uses his abilities primarily for the solution of problems

related to the mastery of the external environment."

Other research has used the Fand Role Inventory as a

measure of overt attitudes toward femininity. A subject receives

a highly "feminine" score if she is other-, rather than self-,

oriented, reflecting an interesting concept of the difference

between masculinity and femininity. Kalla (1968) compared col-

lege women majoring in home economics to those majoring in arts

and sciences. She did not find significant differences between

the two groups on the Fr inr.. nrory. She did, however, find that

both groups attributed greater other-orientations to the average

woman and men's ideal woman than for their own self or own ideal

woman. It would appear by these finds that the degree to which

the average woman is other-oriented or "feminine" is distorted in

the mind of a large number of women who see themselves as less

"feminine" than average or than what men see as desirable.

A bit of objective verification for the practice of using

the Fand Inventory as an indicator of "feminine" or "masculine"

definitions of success is found in a study by Porter (1967). She

administered the Fand to college women and divided them into self-

and other-oriented groups. She found that those who were self-

oriented were more likely to plan graduate study and were less

interested in finding husbands than those who were other-oriented.

However, there was no difference between the two groups in mar-

riage or engagement rate and no relation to elation-depression

or ego strength.

As the preceding authors argue, either implicitly or ex-

plicitly, it may not be valid to define success the same way for

males and for females. The definition of success or failure is,

in any case, one which is made by the person in question rather

than by a psychologist, and there is ample evidence (Komarvosky,

1946, Binger, 1961, Heilbrun, 1963) that women in an academic

setting do accept the evaluation of that setting as to what

constitutes a success or failure. To say that what constitutes

success for a woman is the satisfaction of affiliative needs

oversimplifies. Women in academic settings are liable to the rein-

forcements of that milieu, as well as to the perhaps conflicting

values and reinforcements they may obtain from other sources.

Freud's (1933) best-known comments on this topic are his

explanation of much of the achievement strivings of women in terms

of the concept of "penis envy." "The desire after all to obtain

the penis for which she so much longs may contribute to the

motives that impel a grown-up woman to analysis. What she

expects from such as the capacity to pursue an intellectual

career can often be recognized as a sublimated modification of

this repressed wish."

Even in explaining achievement strivings in women as being

based on the internal dynamic of envy of men and, as such, some-

thing to be unmasked as something other than what it seems, or,

as some of his followers inferred, something needing to be "cured,"

Freud vacillates. His theories on women are presented much more

tentatively than the other theories in his New introductory lec-

tures on psychoanalysis. While he contends that from infancy

girls have a greater need for affiliation, tending to be more

docile and dependent than males, a position that certainly is

consistent with his oft-quoted dictum that "Anatomy is destiny,"

he does not totally ignore societal factors. "Repression of ag-

gressiveness imposed by their constitutions and by society favors

development of strong masochistic impulses," he further states.

At the beginning of his discourse on women, he cautions, "We

must take care not to underestimate the influence of social con-

ventions which force women into passive situations." Cautions

such as these seem to have been ignored, however, and Freud has

been cast by most later interpreters as being squarely of the

position that achievement strivings by women are wholly explainable

in terms of an internal neurotic dynamic.

Shainless (1969) criticizes Freud, contending that he was

unable to "distinguish between the culturally derived and the

biologic substrate of feminine personality and sexuality." She

traces his thinking to roots in Jewish theology, summing up his

position as being that aggressiveness in women is a sign of

neurotic penis envy and masculine protest.

Followers of Freud, even female ones such as Deutsch (1944),

have taken up the position that aggressiveness and achievement

strivings in women are basically neurotic. Deutsch presents a

picture of the healthy adult woman as being narcissistic, maso-

chistic, and passive.

Later Freudians have become more complex in their explana-

tions of the reasons for women's lack of vocational achievement.

While not viewing such lack of achievement or ambition as perhaps

a sign of health, as earlier Freudians would logically seem to,

these authors remain more oriented toward explanations in terms

of internal dynamics rather than explanations in terms of social


Failure, especially in competition with men, is tied to

expiation of guilt for envy toward men, or, relatedly, to castra-

tion anxiety (Schuster, 1955, Ovesey, 1956, 1962). Ovesey (1956)

speaks of the "masculine aspirations" which are often expressed

by his women psychotherapy patients. "As of today, the society

is still a male-oriented society in which the position of women

is devalued. Masculinity represents strength, dominance,

superiority-femininity represents weakness, submissiveness,

inferiority. Many women consciously reject this prejudicial

picture of themselves, but it is doubtful that any escape its

deleterious effects on an unconscious level." If a woman competes

with men, he claims, she pays a price in anxiety and fear of re-

taliation. He relates this anxiety, however, primarily to the

conflicts engendered during the developmental stage when a girl

experiences castration anxiety, rather than primarily to present

social roles or situations.

In watching young children at play, Erik Erikson (1965)

observed that girls produced enclosed play structures, circular

and protected inside, while boys were more likely to produce

stacks or towers. He developed these observations into his con-

cepts of inner and outer space, an hypothesis that the psychologi-

cal and conceptual worlds of males and females are constructed

along the lines of their anatomical features.

A distinct contrast to the Freudians' and Neo-Freudians'

explanations in terms of internal dynamics is offered by the

comments of an hropolo~ tT. They emphasize the way persons are

socialized, and the roles assigned them by society, as the major

explanations for the development of such character traits as

achievement striving, competitiveness, and aggressiveness. An

analysis of child-training procedures of 82 primitive and modern

cultures from the Yale Culture File showed 85 percent emphasizing

self-reliance and independence training for boys preferentially,

and 15 percent equally for boys and girls, with no cultures

emphasizing such training preferentially for girls (Barry, Bacon,


and Child, 1957). In addition,nurturance, obedience, and respon-

sibility training were preferentially emphasized for girls in

most of the cultures surveyed. These finds are particularly sig-

nificant in view of the work of Winterbottom (1953), studying

eight- to ten-year-old males. He concluded that early training

which rewards independence and mastery and offers few restric-

tions after mastery has been attained contributed to the develop-

ment of strong achievement motivation.

Margaret Mead (1935) argues strongly for the need to con-

sider temperament differences between the sexes as other than

innate. "The temperaments which we regard as native to one sex

might be, instead, mere variation of human temperament, to which

the members of either or both sexes may [be inclined]. In

preliterate and advanced societies as well, qualities which are

defined as male in one society may be defined as female in another,"

she argues. Further, in reference to the tribes she studied, "Any

idea that traits on the order of dominance, bravery, aggressive-

ness, objectivity, or malleability are associated with one sex is

entirely lacking." In commenting upon her study, she mentions the

dichotomy into which Westerners have traditionally placed sex roles,

saying that "Because women are aggressive does not mean men will be

the opposite .[There is] not a simple reversal of our roles

in a 'matriarchal' society. There are other alternatives. Men

do not need to be either dominant or henpecked with no other alter-


In a later work, Male a.d female (1949), Mead speaks more

directly about American society;

The adolescent girl in our society begins to
realize that her attempts to achieve place
her in competition with men and elicit negative
reactions from them. our society defines out
of the female role ideas and strivings for intel-
lectual achievement. Each step forward in
work as a successful American regardless of sex
means a step back as a woman, and also, infer-
entially, a step back imposed on some male.

Achievement Motivation Literature

The sizable literature on achievement motivation would seem

to be a logical place to look for enlightenment on the question of

women's performance. However, McClelland's The achievement motive

makes no mention of achievement motivation in women, and Atkinson's

Hotives in fantasy, action, and society only mentions women's

achievement in a footnote that "Perhaps the most persistent unre-

solved problem in research on n-ach concerns the observed sex dif-

ferences." Nearly all the literature on achievement motivation is

derived from studies using males as subjects. Although there has

been formed a fairly consistent theory of achievement motivation

in men, the few comparable studies which have been done using

females yielded results which were not consistent with the male

findings nor were they consistent with each other.

A few authors have approached the problem of the achieve-

ment motivation of women, in an attempt to explain the inconsist-

ent results in relation to male achievement motivation theory. In

assessing n-ach, TAT cards are used. The main figure on some or

all of these cards, depending on the study, are male.Veroff et al.(1953)

suggests that the way females respond to these cards is not directly

analogous to the way males respond to the cards. He found that both

male and female high school students produce greater n-ach scores

to pictures of men than to pictures of women. These findings sug-

gest that a sex-role stereotype seems to be operating as well as

the assumed projection of the subject's own needs. Not only are

the n-ach scores partially dependent upon the sex of the main

figure on the card, but several studies have shown that n-ach

scores derived from analyzing female main figure scores separately

from male figure cards do not predict performance in the same way.

McClelland et al. (1953)report that women's scores to male pic-

tures predict anagram production, while their scores to female

pictures do not. Lesser, Kravitz, and Packard (1963) used subjects

from a high school for gifted girls and compared achievers and

underachievers. They found a highly significant difference in the

achievement motivation scores of the two groups. Achieving girls

made much higher n-ach scores than did underachieving girls.

Almost all of this difference was accounted for by the response to

cards with female main figures. Both groups produced about the

same amount of achievement imagery to male figures, but the achiev-

ing girls produced much more achievement imagery to the female

figures than did the underachieving girls. 'iije authors interpret

the results as meaning that achieving girls perceive intellectual

achievement goals as a relevant part of their own female role,

while underachieving girls perceive intellectual achievement goals

as more relevant to the male role than to their own female role.,.

Another study by Pierce and Bowman (1960) reported an

absence of a significant relationship between n-ach scores and

academic performance when only pictures of men were used in assess-

ing the n-ach of the female subjects.

It would appear that one reason that many early achieve-

ment motivation studies did not find results for women comparable

to those for men was that the measure of n-ach was not comparable.

Women and men both appear to maintain the stereotype of achievement

being masculine as they project more achievement imagery upon mas-

culine figures. This stereotype interferes with women's scores to

such an extent that projections to a male figure cannot be assumed

to be projections of the subject's own needs. Indirectly, these

studies again point out the importance of a female's perception of

intellectual achievement as an ingredient of the feminine role; in

fact, the Lesser et al. results strongly suggest that this percep-

tion may be the critical factor in distinguishing female achievers

from underachievers.

In addition to the work on the sex of the TAT card as an

explanatory factor for n-ach scores in women, some work has been

done concerning the sex differences in the effect of several condi-

tions of "arousal" or experimental set upon the n-ach scores of

subjects. Briefly, women failed to show the expected increase in

thematic apperceptive n-ach imagery when exposed to experimental

conditions of achievement motivation stressing "intelligence and

leadership't(Veroff et al., 1953, McClelland et al., 1953, Lesser

et al., 1963). Further delineation is found in a study of Univer-

sity of Maryland coeds, wherein the achievement responses of women

were increased under achievement arousal conditions when this

arousal was in terms of "social acceptance" rather than the usual

"leadership and intelligence" instructions (Field, 1951).

Again, the sex difference in response to arousal, like the

differences in response to the sex of the main figure of the card,

could be attributed to the effect reported by Moss and Kagan (1961)

that the thematic material is strongly influenced by the subjects'

conceptions of what behaviors are appropriate to the hero's social


Matina Horner (1968) completed a doctoral dissertation on

the subject of achievement motivation in women. A student of Atkin-

son, she worked firmly in the tradition of n-ach research. Finding

the measurement of the motive to achieve, even with the addition of

the measurement of the motive to avoid failure, along with the

measurement of the need for affiliation, not adequate to predict

task performance in college women, she proposed an additional

measure, of the motive to avoid success.,/Using verbal TAT-like

leads, she was able to score motive to avoid success imagery, and

to determine that women scored significantly higher on this measure

than men. She noted that men as a group performed better in competi-

tive situations on anagram, arithmetic, and coding problems than they

did in non-competitive situations. A comparison of women's perform-

ances in competitive and non-competitive situations was inconclu-

sive. However, the motive to avoid success measure was related to

women's performance. Women who scored high in motive to avoid suc-

cess imagery performed at a higher level in the non-competitive than

in the competitive situation. Horner's work goes well beyond the

traditional n-ach explanations that had been formulated to explain

male achievement behavior. Her theory that the achievement behav-

ior of some females is affected by motive to avoid success is con-

sistent with the social role theory and is also consistent with the

theory that attitude toward problem-solving is a major factor in

the cognitive performance of women. Horner, however, makes no

attempt to reconcile her theory with work in other fields. Her

introduction of competition and the motive to avoid success as

variables in achievement situations was a significant addition to

achievement motivation work and certainly points to a probable area

of fruitful investigation of sex differences.


Kagan and Moss (1962) contend that the typical female

experiences greater anxiety over aggressive and competitive behav-

ior than the male and that she is more conflicted over intellectual

competition than the male, leading to inhibition of intense striv-

ings for academic excellence. They note that a competitive attitude

is part of the traditional masculine role prescription and not part

of the traditional feminine role prescription. Their longitudinal

study concluded that achievement-oriented women were confident,

counterphobic, and competitive during childhood and adolescence,

indicating that achievement patterns are set early and are strongly

influenced by the family.

Other studies come closer to documenting what Kagan and Moss

suggest about women's anxiety in competitive situations. A study

noting the amount of time and the number of instances that partners

in experimental games looked at each other showed that competitive

situations greatly inhibited mutual glances among females with a

high need for affiliation, an effect much stronger than for males.

The author explains this as a cutting down on reception of unpleas-

ant stimuli, implying that competition is more unpleasant for fe-

males than for males (Exline, 1963).

Striking sex differences in strategy in a three-person

competitive game were noted by Usegui and Vinacke (1963). Men

seemed to readily become immersed in the competitive spirit of the

game, while women seemed to be more interested in maintaining

friendly relations with the other players than in winning. Women

usually did not engage in the exploitive strategies which charac-

terized the men's play.

Other evidence for the relative lack of competitiveness

among females is reported by Walker and lieyns (1962). Couples

worked together on a problem in which the success of one meant the

failure of the other (an operational definition of a competitive

situation). One of the partners, a confederate, at one point asked

his partner to "please slow down." Girls obeyed this request; boys

did not.

All of the authors cited in this section point to the conclu-

sion that women's performance does not seem to be stimulated by com-

petition in the way that men's performance is. Certainly this could

be a factor in women's relative lack of achievement in academic


Social Learning as Theoretical Context

A social learning theory of personality, as presented by

Rotter (1954), provides a unifying context for the material reviewed.

The findings that women are academically and professionally under-

achievers and show poorer performance in problem-solving than men,

as compiled in the first two sections of this review, can be ex-

plained in terms of the differing set of rewards and punishments

offered by society to each sex for these behaviors.

The findings that puberty is the time for underachievement

to appear for girls (Maccoby, 1966), the Milton (1957) and Lipinski

(1960) findings of the relationship between sex-role identification

and problem-solving ability, and the numerous comments in the

"Sex-Role Conflict and Achievement" section of this review on the

incompatibilities between intellectual achievement and the approved

(reinforced) social role of a woman-all point to sex differences

in the social reinforcements for intellectual achievement.

Freudians and Neo-Freudians, on the other hand, do not place

emphasis on social learning as a cause of an individual's under-

achievement, looking instead for individual internalized causes.

Freudianism has influenced many of the mythic of present-day

American culture and is, the author feels, one of the sources of

negative reinforcement for achievement in females.

The theories of achievement motivation are quite amenable

to restatement and inclusion in a social learning context.


The objective of this investigation was to add to the

knowledge concerning the effect of college women's learned social

role upon their intellectual performance. The investigation of the

observed discrepancy between capacity and performance, following

social learning theory, began with some of the qualities of the

female role (that is, behavior reinforced differentially for females)

in our society relevant to achievement.

Some of the qualities of the traditional feminine role which

make intellectual achievement difficult for women have been men-

tioned in the literature review. Dominance, aggressiveness, and

non-nurturant behavior are necessary in order to compete success-

fully. These are traditionally unfeminine traits. In competition,

there is a head-on collision between a woman's self-ideal as a winner

or successful person (an ideal of the general culture) and a woman's

self-ideal as feminine.

Placing both men and women in both competitive and non-

competitive situations, it was hypothesized that:

fil Male subjects would obtain higher task scores
in the competitive situation than in the non-
competitive situation.

H2 Female subjects would tend to score higher on
the task in the non-competitive situations but,
due to large individual variations, the trend
would not reach significance.

When Iorner (1968) compared different groups of men and

women in competitive and non-competitive situations, she found that,

consistent with the cultural norm, the men in the competitive situ-

ation did better than the men in the non-competitive situation.

Women, however, were unpredictable until an additional concept-

the motive to avoid success"-was introduced and measured. The

"motive to avoid success" was posited by Homer on the premise that

an expectancy is aroused in competitive achievement situations

that success will lead to negative consequences for women. Test-

or achievement-related anxiety had previously been viewed mainly

as motivation to avoid failure. Women generally score higher than

men on such measures as the Mandler-Sarason Test Anxiety Questionnaire.

As Homer points out, test- or achievement-anxiety measures do not

specify what one is anxious about but simply that he or she is

anxious in a particular type of situation. The argument that success

for women arouses an expectancy of negative consequences is based

upon material reviewed in the "Sex-Role Conflict and Achievement"

and "Personality Theory" sections of this paper. In particular,

note Bettelheim's (1962) argument that academic success may mean

failure to a woman, and Mead's (1949) idea that intellectual striving

can be viewed as "competitively aggressive behavior."

H Female subjects would show more "motive to
avoid success" imagery than males, in
replication of Horner.

H Both male and female subjects would attrib-
ute more "motive to avoid success" imagery
to female cues than to male cues.

H Females' scores on the "motive to avoid
success" measure will be related to the
competitive-non-competitive task score
difference, particularly in competition
with males.

The extent to which a woman identifies with the traditional

feminine role determines, in part, the extent of its reinforcing

power over her. Much of the material reviewed in the "Sex-Role

Conflict and Achievement" and "Sex Differences in Cognitive Tasks"

sections of this paper points to the conclusion that the extent of

identification with the traditional feminine role affects a fe-

male's intellectual performance and ambition. A measure of role

identification, which was used fruitfully in Milton's (1957) study

and has been used often in research for determining masculinity-

femininity (really the extent of traditional role identification ,

is the [',r-. i 'l -[" ., .

The ~l lI L-i,- ..IL-, referred to on all the subjects'

materials as the Attitude-Interest Analysis Test, was designed to

"make possible a quantitative estimation of the amount and direction

of a subject's deviation from the mean of his or her sex in inter-

ests, attitudes, and thought trends"(Terman and Miles, 1938). There

are seven parts to the measure: word association, ink-blot associa-

tion, information, emotional and ethical response, interests, per-

sonalities and opinions, and introvertive response. There are 456

items in a multiple-choice format.

R6 Masculine-side scorers among females on the
Terman-Milos would have a positive competitive-
/non-competi-ive task score difference (meaning
that they make higher scores in the competitive

The rationale for H6 is that women who identify relatively

little with the traditional female role will be more likely to deal

with competitive situations as men do, that is, as an incentive to

achievement. The author is aware that alternative rationales could

be employed to argue for the opposite position, that women who do

not follow the traditional female role will have placed themselves

often in places where they would receive negative reinforcement for


H Females' Terman-Miles scores will be
related to "motive to avoid success" scores.

The direction is not predicted on this hypothesis, since it

could be argued that more masculine scorers, by not identifying

with the traditional female role, escape the set of reinforcements

which make "motive to avoid success" necessary; or, alternately,

that their deviancy has brought them many times into situations in

which they might be negatively reinforced for success.

Ha Scores of the Terman--iles will show less
clear sex differentiation than the 1938
standardization sample; but the instrument
will still differentiate between the sexes.

Sex-roles are becoming more flexible but still are defined.

Each subject was given a short questionnaire including information

on major and educational plans.

H9 Female subjects in the more masculine group
on the Terman-Miles will be less likely to choose
majors that could be considered extensions of
the female role than scorers in the more
feminine group.
H10 Female subjects in the more masculine group on the
TermaLn-MlIuo will be more educationally m.nbitious
(plan more years of schooling) than subjects in the
more feminr.c group.


The Presidential Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities
(1970) documents the case of women's lack of income, power, and
status. For example, some excerpts from the report state that:
In public school teaching, a field dominated numerically by women,
75 percent of elementary school principals are men, and 96 percent
of junior high school principals are men. The median earnings of
white men employed year-around full-time is $7,396; of Negro men,
$4,777; of white women, $4,279; of Negro women, $3,194. Women with
some college education, both white and Negro, earn less than Negro
men with eight years of education.

2It might be noted that the interests indicated by males lead to
higher-paying positions than those indicated by females. The pos-
sible causative relation between female interest and status or
salary remains an open question.

Again, the question of whether women are forced into such posi-
tions because of discrimination, or whether they choose the posi-
tions for reasons of internalized self-devaluation or actual
preference, remains an open one.

4Of course, the assumption that a child who asks "why" questions,
is good at problem-solving,and likes difficult tasks is at an ad-
vantage in getting good grades in a public school is a highly
questionable one. It is quite possible that the socialization of
boys prepares them for success in college more than success in
grade school.

This study-and others to a lesser extent-are, of course, dated.
While the picture is more complex today, there is evidence that
the sort of pressures described by the study still exist.

6A direct example of the type of cultural pressures exerted upon
girls is contained in the following excerpt from a syndicated
column by Harriet Van Horne, commenting upon the feminist Miss
America protest:
Those sturdy lasses in their sensible shoes .
have been scared and wounded by consorting with the
wrong men (of dubious masculinity who wear frilly
Edwardian clothes) men who do not understand
the way to a female's heart-i.e., to make her feel
utterly feminine, and almost too delicate for this
hard world.
She concluded that there might be some truth in the "mindless


boob-girlie symbolism," but went on to say, "Most of us would
rather be some dear man's boob girl than nobody's cum laude scholar."
The assumptions in the last statement bear examination. (Quotations
are from Ellis, 1970.)

Boverman et al. (1970) gave a sex-role stereotype questionnaire
of 122 bipolar items to 79 actively functioning clinicians, asking
them to describe a healthy, mature, socially competent
a adult
(b) man
(c) woman.
Clinical judgments about the character of healthy individuals dif-
fered as a function of the sex of the person judged, paralleling
sex-role differences. The behaviors and character judged healthy
for an adult, sex unspecified, resembled that for men but not for




The subjects were 96 undergraduate students enrolled in two

introductory psychology classes at the University of Florida in 1971.

They took part in the experiment in order to fulfill a course re-

quirement for experimental participation. Included in the study

were 48 females and 48 males.


Scrambled Words

Groups of subjects gathered in a room with 30-40 chairs for

the night session. The groups contained eight subjects, ten subjects,

and six subjects, respectively. At the beginning of the session,

subjects were divided into pairs and were seated together in a part

of the room separated from other pairs. By selective dismissal of

extra subjects, and by judicious timing of the sessions' beginning

and assignment to pairs, an equal number of male and female subjects,

and equal numbers of males paired with males, males paired with

females, females paired with females, and females paired with males,

was obtained without specifying sex on the sign-up sheet or having

any session consisting solely of pairs of one type. Subjects

received the verbal instruction: "Part of this experiment will be

.done with partners. Please sit with your partner in a section of the

room away from the other pairs and introduce yourself to your part-

ner." Subjects were asked, when the partners were assigned, if they

knew the prospective partner; and subjects who knew each other were

not assigned as partners.

The task used was derived from the Lowell Scrambled Words

Test (Lowell, 1952). Each of the three forms contained 40 words

randomly chosen from Lowell's list. This measure was chosen be-

cause of its use in previous achievement research (Lowell, 1952,

and Horner, 1968) and because of the ease in constructing three

parallel forms. The forms so constructed had distributions approxi-

mating normal, but did not have equal means, so the scores were

converted to z scores for the analysis.

A sample was constructed in order to reduce the effects of

order. (Order was also balanced in the design.) Each person re-

ceived, face down, a copy of the sample sheet with the following

verbal instructions:

The Scrambled Words test has been used for over 35 years.
It is a test of facility with words. As you may know,
vocabulary tests have proven to be the best single
measure of general intelligence. This test measures
one aspect of vocabulary. On the sheet in front of
you are some sample common words with the letters
scrambled. Try to make words out of them and write
them in the blanks. No plurals or proper nouns are
acceptable. Turn over the cheet and begin now.

The instructions were designed to heighten the motive to

achieve by tying achievement to intelligence. Ninety seconds were

allowed for the subjects to work on the sample; then the answers were

read and the papers collected. A form of the Scrambled Words Test

was passed out to each subject, face down, with "Form (A, B, or C)"

written on the side facing the subject. The verbal instructions

varied according to whether the group received the competitive or

non-competitive condition first.

Competitive first instructions:

You have the same form of the test as your
partner, containing the same words. Do you
both have Form ( )? You will be in competition
with each other. After we finish the tests, you
will exchange papers with your partner and score
each other's paper.
You will have 5 minutes. Work quickly, since
few people finish in this time. It is not
necessary to do the words in order. Begin.

(After 5 minutes, subjects were asked to turn their
papers over and another form was distributed.)

This time we will do it differently. You are
taking two different forms, containing differ-
ent words. One of you has Form ( ), the other
Form ( ). Is that right? Your objective is
simply to do the best that you can. You will
not see each other's paper, and your scores
will not be compared. Begin.

Non-competitive first instructions:

You and your partner are taking two different
forms of the test, containing different words.
One of you has Form ( ), the other Form ( ). Is
that right? Your objective s1 simply to do the
best that you can. You will have 5 minutes.
Work quickly since few people finish in that
time. It is not necessary to do the words in
order. Begin.

(After 5 minutes, subjects were asked to turn their
papers over and another form was distributed.)

This time we will do it differently. You
have the same form of the test as your partner,
containing the same words. Do you both have
Form ( )? You will be in competition with each
other. After we finish the test, you will ex-
change papers with your partner and score each
other's paper. Begin.

Following the second Scrambled Words test, partners exchanged

papers and scored each other's papers.. All papers were then collected.

Motive to Avoid Success

Next, the booklet of Cue Interpretations was distributed.

Verbal leads were used to elicit imaginative stories for the measure-

ment of the "motive to avoid success," following Homer (1968). The

verbal leads selected were:

1A After the first term finals, Anne finds herself at
the top of her medical school class.

1B. Same, with Peter used as the name.

2A A telegram comes to Alice, telling her that her
short story will be published in a literary

2B Same, with Paul used as the name.

3A Completing the last of a series of physics
experiments she has devised, Sally makes a
new and unexpected discovery.

3B Same, with David used as the name.

4A Susan gets a letter saying she has been chosen
from a-mong many applicants to win the Eliot
Memorial Scholarship, paying for a year's
study at Oxford.

4B Same, with Peter used as the name.

Four forms were constructed, each with two female cue leads

and two male cue leads, with the particular leads rotated:

Form A 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B.

Form B 1A, 2B, 3A, 4B.

Form C IB, 2A, 3B, 4A.

Form D 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A.

Equal numbers of males and females received each form.

Leads 1A and 1B comprised the original "motive to avoid

success" measure devised by Homer. In her study, each subject re-

ceived only leads with main characters of the same sex. In order to

compare the projection to members of the same and opposite sex by

the two sexes, the measure has been extended for this study.

Instructions for the Cue Interpretations were read aloud

as the subjects looked at the instructions printed on the first page

of the booklet:

You are going to see a series of verbal leads
or cues, and your task is to tell a story that
is suggested to you by each cue. Try to imagine
what is going on in each. Then tell what the
situation is, what lead up to the situation,
what the people are thinking and feeling, and
what they will do.

In other words, write as complete a story as
you can-a story with plot and characters.

You will have 20 seconds to look at a verbal cue
and then 4 minutes to write your story about it.
Write your first impressions and work rapidly.
I will keep time and tell you when it is time to
finish your story and to get ready for the next

There are no right or wrong stories or kinds of
stories, so you may feel free to write whatever
story is sug;atced to you when you look at a cue.
Spelling, punctuation, and granimar are not im-
portant. What is important is to write out as
fully and quickly as possible the story that
comes into your mind as you imagine what is
going on in each cue,

Notice that there will be one page for writ-
ing each story, following the page on which
the verbal cue is given. If you need more
space for writing any story, use the reverse
side of the previous page-the one on which the
cue was presented. Do not turn or go on to the
next page until I tell you to do so.

Each verbal lead was printed slightly above the middle of a single

page in the booklet; and following each page with a verbal lead

was one for writing the story to that particular cue, with ques-

tions reminding the subject of the instructions (see Appendix).

These pages were identical to those used in TAT picture achievement

motivation measurement (Atkinson, 1958).

The stories were scored following Horner, according to a

present-absent scoring system. The stories were scored for avoid-

ance of success if there was imagery expressed which reflected

concern about the success. Some instances in which a story would

be scored as "imagery present" include:

a. negative consequences because of the success.
b. denial of the situation described by the cue.
c. negative affect because of the success.
d. direct expression of conflict about the success.
e. choice not to accept the success or honor, or
instrumental activity away from present or
future success, including leaving the field
for more traditional female work.

The author had 92 percent rescore concordance of imagery present for

48 protocols and 86 percent, concordance with an independent scorer

for 48 protocols (computed as the number of agreement judgments of

imagery present/absent divided by the total number of stories).

Following completion of the Cue Interpretations, subjects

completed a brief questionnaire on their personal background and

vocational and educational goals.


Following completion of the questionnaire, the subjects re-

ceived a Terman-Miles M-F (called Attitude-Interest Analysis Test

on the booklet) for completion at home.

The experimental session lasted approximately one hour. The

session was conducted by the author.



The Scrambled Words task data were the dependent variables

in a three-way analysis of variance with repeated measures designed

to test HI and H2. A summary of this analysis is contained in

Table 1. The effect of sex x competition was not significant, thus

failing to support the hypothesis that male subjects would obtain

higher task scores in the competitive than in the non-competitive

condition, or the hypothesis that female subjects would score higher

in the non-competitive than in the competitive condition.

Additionally, the number of males and females with positive

and with negative competition-non-competition difference scores were



Scrambled Words Competition-Non-competition by Sex

Positive Negative

Males 25 23 48
Females 23 25 48

48 48

Chi Square = .70 with 1 df, na

This treatment of the data also did not confirm I1I or H2.

Hypothesis 3 and 4 dealt with the "motive to avoid success"

measure. As seen in Table 2, a Chi Square test of the sexes sepa-

rately did not show a significant difference in either the male or

female subjects' projections of "motive to avoid success" according

to the sex of the cue character.


"Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery
According to Sex of Cue and Sex of Subject

Female Male
Cue Cue
Present 29 20 49
Absent 67 76 143
96 99
Chi Square = 1.08 with 1 df, ns

Male Subjects
Female Male
Cue Cue
Present 28 19 47
Absent 68 77 145

96 96
Chi Square = 1.14 with 1 df, ns

All Subjects
Female Male
Cue Cue
Present 57 39 96
Absent 135 153 228

192 192

Chi Square 3.91 with 1 df, significant at .05 level

However, when the sexes were combined, the Chi Square was

significant, supporting the hypothesis that both sexes attribute

more "motive to avoid success" imagery to the female cue.


Analysis of Variance of Scrambled Words Task Scores as
a Function of Sex of Subject, Sex of Partner, and

Source df MS F

Sex 1 .0039 .0022
Sex of Partner 1 .0533 .0305
Sex + Sex of Partner 1 .3804 .2177
SS Within 92 1.7470 -
Competition Condition 1 .2914 1.0304
Competition + Sex 1 .0431 .1524
Competition + Sex of Partner 1 .3527 1.2471
Competition + Sex +
Sex of Partner 1 .9467 3.3476
Competition + SS Within 92 .2828 -

Total 191 .9881

The similar number of attributions by male and female sub-

jects is disparate from those of Horner (1968) who showed 8 males

and 56 females attributing "motive to avoid success" imagery, and

80 males and 34 females not attributing "motive to avoid success"

imagery. The resulting Chi Square was highly significant (p (.0005).

In her reported data, there were 178 possibilities for reporting

imagery, with one cue of the same sex as the subject scored for

each subject; while in this investigation there were 344 possi-

abilities for reporting imagery, two cues of each sex for each subject.

The proportion of attributions out of the total possible,

96/344 or .28 for this study and 65/178 or .36 for Horer's data,

shows a small difference. The large disparity between the two

studies occurs in the proportion of attributions given by each sex.

In order to compare more validly with Horner's data, the

lead identical to hers (lA, 1B) was tabulated as follows:


Tabulation of Original "Motive to Avoid Success" Lead by
Sex of Subject and Sex of Cue Character

F.-iu .nicait.- ti Fr-le. Cise Female Subjects to Male Cue
No imagery 16 No imagery 18
Imagery 8 Imagery 6

Male Subjects to Male Cue Male Subjects to Female Cue
No imagery 20 No imagery 18
Imagery 4 Imagery 6

When solely the imagery of females to female cue (present 8,

absent 16) and the imagery of males to male cue is examined, the

difference between male and female attributions is greater than for

the study as a whole, although it does not approach the 8/56

ratio of male to female subjects' imagery that Homer obtained.

A Chi Square test of this subgroup of data was non-significant

(Chi Square = 3.5, 1 df), but the validity of such a test is in

question, since the frequency in one cell is less than 5 (Bruning

and Kintz, 1968, p. 209).

Female subjects' "motive to avoid success" scores were pre-

dicted to be related to the competition-non-competition difference

scores by H In analyzing this result and the one following, only

imagery to cues of the same sex as the subject will be used.


Female "Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery to
Female Cues and Competition-Non-competition Difference

Positive Negative

Imagery present 15 7 22
Imagery absent 10 16 26

25 23

Chi Square 4.2 with 1 df, significant at .05 level

A comparable analysis was done of the male subjects' "motive

to avoid success" imagery to male cues.


Male "Motive to Avoid Success" Imagery to
Male Cues and Competition-Non-competition Difference

Positive Negative

Imagery present 11 4 22
Imagery absent 14 19 26

25 23

Chi-Square 5.67, significant at the .05 level

It is concluded that both males' and females' "motive to

avoid success" imagery is related to their performance in a competi-

tive situation. Subjects of both sexes who scored higher in the

competitive than in the non-competitive conditions on the task

were more likely to have "motive to avoid success" imagery present

than those subjects who scored higher in the non-competitive situa-


Hypotheses 6-10 involve the Trn-Mile3 H-F. The Terman-

Miles scores for this sample showed differences from the norm groups

reported in 1938. The median score for females was -36, the mean

-33.8. Compared to the norms for female college sophomores, the

mean of females in this study falls around the 73rd percentile.

Compared to the female general adult norms, the mean is equivalent

to a standardized score of +1.25.

For males, 47.5 was the median score, 49.3 the mean. This

mean falls around the 29th percentile when compared to male collage

sophomores, and +.25 standardized score when compared to male

general adult norms.

Females in this study, in comparison with both norm groups,

are markedly more masculine in their scores than in the 1938 sample.

For males, the picture is less definite. Compared to college sopho-

mores, males in this sample are more feminine in their scores. How-

ever, compared to the male general adult sample, they are slightly

more masculine in their scores.

It was hypothesized that women on the masculine side (when

female subjects' scores are divided at the mid-point) of the Terman-

Miles will make higher task scores in the competitive than in the

non-competitive conditions. Table 7 shows the data.


Female Subjects' Tarman-Miles Scores and Competition-
Non-competition Difference Scores

Positive Negative
Feminine Scorers 10 13 23
Masculine Scorers 13 12 25

23 25

Chi Square .70 1 df, ns.

The results were not significant and H6 is not confirmed.

H7 hypothesized a relationship for females between Terman-

M les scores and "motive to avoid success" scores, with the direction

not predicted. The data in Table 8 show a non-significant rela-

tionship, with a tendency for more masculine scorers to show "motive

to avoid success" imagery and more feminine scorers not to show



Female Subjects' Terfnan-Miles Scores and "Motive to Avoid
Success" Imagery to Female Cues

Masculine Feminine
Termwn-MiJ lo Terman-Miles
Imagery Present 13 8 21
Imagery Absent 11 16 27
24 14

Chi Square = 2.1 with 1 df, rs.

Academic majors were classified as male, neutral, or female

according to the proportion of males to females enrolled in these

majors at the University of Florida. Majors having 40-60 percent

females were considered neutral, above 60 percent female, and below

40 percent male. Then major choice was tabulated by the masculine

or feminine group placement of the female subject on the Terman-

Miles, as shown in Table 9.

Sex Composition of Female Subjects' Major
and Terman-Miles Scores

Masculine Neutral Feminine
Terman-Miles 6 14 4 24
Terman-Miles 3 8 12 23

9 22 16

Chi-Square 6.73 with 2 df, significant at the .05 level

Feminine scorers on the Terman-Miles choose feminine majors

more often than masculine scorers, while masculine scorers choose

masculine and neutral majors more often than feminine scorers.

H is confirmed.

The questionnaire item on educational plans was tabulated

by placing those female subjects who planned a bachelor's degree

and those who planned more than a bachelor's degree in separate

groups. The subjects in theae groups were then categorized accord-

ing to masculine or feminine grouping on the Terman-Miles as seen

in Table 10.


Female Subjects' Educational Ambitions
and Terman-Miles Scores

Bachelor Bachelor+

Masculine Terman-Miles 7 15 22
Feminine Terman-Miles 14 10 24

21 25

Chi Square = 3.4 with 1 df, n.s.

The Chi Square value for the test of the hypothesis that

Terman-Miles feminine scorers will be less educationally ambitious

closely approaches significance. The value of 3.4 compares with

the 3.8 necessary for significance at the .05 level and with the

2.7 needed for significance at the .10 level, showing a strong

tendency toward confirmation of the hypothesis.




The result showing no difference between the competitive

and non-competitive task scores of men is at variance with other

reported studies (Horner, 1968; Usegui and Vinace, 1963; and

Walker and Heyns, 1962). The cultural conditioning of men to be

competitive in sports, in school, in the armed forces, and by

advertising is pervasive. It is possible that men in the sample

are an indication of college men becoming less competitive by

reason of the influence of the counterculture which devalues com-

petition and success, as will be discussed later. Rather than

accepting such an explanation precipitately, let us examine some

more obvious explanations of the data. The reliability of the

Scrambled Words task, as used in this study, is open to question.

There were large individual differences in the test scores. Very

little of the variance was explained by the individual variables


However, when individual differences were controlled for

by taking the competition score of each subject and subtracting the

non-competition situation score from it, the scores so obtained

were used to derive some significant results, as hypothesized.

When this treatment was applied to the data concerning males'

competition scores, however, 25 male subjects scored higher in the

competitive than in the non-competitive situation, and 23 male sub-

jects scored higher in the non-competitive than in the competitive

situation-again showing little difference.

Another obvious possible explanation of the failure for men

to make higher scores in the competitive situation concerns the

credibility of the situation to the subject. It is possible that

the subjects did not believe that the non-competitive situation

was really non-competitive, or that they really had a different

word list from their partners in the non-competitive situation,

despite the different form letters being in their view and the

check by the examiner to see that they had different forms. This

explanation, also, is weakened by the results which do relate to

the competitive-non-competitive difference as predicted. The mean-

ing of the lack of elevation of male subjects' scores in the com-

petitive situations remains a question.

Female subjects did not show a significant competition

condition effect, as was expected and as was found by Homer (1968).

The results on the number of "motive to avoid success" pro-

jections by sex of subject and sex of cue require further explana-

tion. The number of projections to male cues by male subjects (20)

and the number of projections to male cues by female subjects (19)

were nearly identical, as were the number of projections to female

cues by female subjects (29) and the number of projections to female

cues by male subjects (28). Apparently, men and women agree on the

social role of men and women with reference to this variable; women

are somewhat more likely to be punished for or be ambivalent about

success, although this statement cannot be made at the .05 level.

The question of the meaning of projections is raised by these

results. Are subjects projecting their own needs, or are they re-

sponding primarily to the stimulus value of the cue? Is it valid

to assume that responses to the same sex cue are projections of the

subject's need system,and responses to the opposite sex cue are

statements about social role?

Operationally, studies of achievement motivation using TAT

cards (the verbal lead technique was derived from the TAT) provide

support for considering only same sex cues as predictive behavior-

ally. McClelland et al. (1953) were unable to differentiate achiev-

ing from underachieving girls on the basis of their projections to

male figure cards, but were able to differentiate them on the basis

of responses to female figure cards. Pierce and Bowman (1960)

were not able to relate n-ach and academic achievement when male

cues wore used.

Theoretically, it is useful to remember that the TAT measure

was based upon Freudian theory and the word "projection" has the

specific meaning in that context of the act of ascribing to someone

or something else one's own thoughts, needs, or feelings. This mean-

ing, when applied to TAT cards or projective cues, obscures the

stimulus value of the figure of cue itself.

Given the fact that 50 percent of women Ph.D.'e are not

married, is the girl who writes about a lonely academically successful

girl wholly "projecting" in the Freudian sense? Might not response

to cues of both sexes be considered statements of observed social

contingencies and expectations that each sex has of itself and the

other sex? Relatedly, might not "motive to avoid success" be bet-

ter named "anticipation of negative consequences of success" or

"ambivalence concerning success?"

The ratio between males' attribution to male cues and

females' attribution to female cues was 19/29, yielding a non-sig-

nificant Chi Square, in sharp contrast to the 8/56 ratio of Homer,

which yielded a Chi Square significant at the .0005 level.

One difference between the two studies which might be

relevant is that Homer's study had subjects taking the "motive to

avoid success" measure along with achievement motivation leads in

a different session than the tasks, while this study had the "motive

to avoid success" measure immediately following the competitive and

non-competitive task situations. Theoretically, what one might

expect from such a placement is a heightening of the salience of

needs and fears related to the achievement situation.

The possibility remains that there is a difference in the

characteristics of the samples. Horner's datawere taken in 1965,

six-to-seven years before this study. Time has seen the rise of

a counterculture, with its values critical of competition and

conventional success. The author noted that around 2/3 to 3/4 of

the males showed some outward sign which could be interpreted as

an identification with the counterculture (beard, long hair, psyche-

delic shirt, worn blue jeans with embroidered patches, etc.). Also,

it is possible that the University of Florida has a larger proportion

of students who are not motivated to academic achievement than the

University of Michigan, the site of the Horner study.

Upon looking at the males' stories, around half of those

rated as having "motive to avoid success" imagery present are so

classified because of the denial of the value of the success; for

example, one story line goes: "After being number one on the

medical school finals, John decides it is not worth the effort and

drops out." Another example appeared in several stories of both

male and female subjects: Peter decides not to take the scholar-

ship to Oxford in order to stay home with his girl. Most of the

"motive to avoid success" stories of females as well as males were

of this denial of the value of success or choosing some other

value than success type, a classification showing little prominence

in Homer's discussion. The story listed by her as typical of

female "motive to avoid success" involved a woman lowering her

performance in order not to be higher than her boy-friend. Few of

this study's stories were of that type. There was evidence in a

number of women subjects' success stories to female cues of an

awareness of the woman's liberation issues; such as, "The admis-

sion committee hadn't wanted to admit Anne because she was a woman.

And now she is at the head of her claao. She will continue to make

high grades and make it possible for more women to be admitted to

medical school."

The observed difference in the character of the "motive to

avoid success" stories could be a partial explanation of the sex

distribution discrepancy between the two studies. The ideological

devaluation of success or competition is less sex-related than the

expectancy of punishment. for success.

A significant relationship was found for each sex between

"motive to avoid success" imagery (same sex cues used for analysis)

and the competition-non-competition difference scores. Subjects

of both sexes who scored higher in the competitive than in the non-

competitive condition were more likely to show "motive to avoid success"

imagery than subjects who scored higher in the non-competitive condi-

tion. This result can be explained in terms of heightened anxiety

(or expectancy of negative reinforcement) concerning competitive

success, an anxiety not shared by subjects who scored higher in the

non-competitive situation.

In the formation of the hypothesis, the direction of the

result was not predicted, since higher non-competitive task scores

positively related to the presence of "motive to avoid success"

imagery could have been easily explained on the basis that subjects

with "motive to avoid success" imagery present do not do well in

competition in order not to arouse the negative consequences which

they expect if they do well in competition. It appears, however,

that "motive to avoid success" functions, for both male and female

subjects, not so much as a deterrent to competitive achievement

but as a measure of ambivalent feelings about that achievement.

Clt may be noted that in the discussion up to this point the

performance of male and female subjects has been similar. Neither

showed a significant difference in performance between the competitive

and non-competitive conditions. Both sexes showed almost identical

patterns of attribution of "motive to avoid success" by sex; and

both sexes showed a positive relationship between presence of

"motive to avoid success" imagery and competitive condition scores

being higher than non-competitive condition scores.

The result of female subjects' Terman-Miles (a measure of

sex-role identification) scores, showing a non-significant trend

for scorers in the masculine half of female subjects to be higher

in "motive to avoid success" imagery, is consistent with the pre-

vious result. Female subjects who identify relatively more with the

masculine are likely to place themselves in situations where "motive

to avoid success," or ambivalence about success, is aroused. Sub-

jects who identify themselves with the traditional feminine role

are safely out of situations where negative reinforcement is likely.

The significant relationship between Terman-Miles scores

and the sex composition of the major choice and the strong non-

significant trend for masculine-side scorers on the Terman-Miles

to be more educationally ambitious complete a picture of the

female subject who scores in the masculine-side on the Terman-Miles

choosing a major with a relatively large number of men in it, and

being more likely than not to be educationally ambitious and ambiv-

alent about success.

The expected addition to this picture, that masculine-side

scorers would score higher in the competitive than in the non-compet-

itive condition, was not substantiated. However, the rationale for

this hypothesis was that masculine-side scorers on the Terman-Miles

would behave like males in scoring higher in the competitive

condition, and it is noted that the males also did not perform

higher in the competitive condition.


If the results of this study are interpreted as one sign of

a decreasing value placed by college students upon competitive

achievement and upon success, then how are we to evaluate this change?

Arguments concerning the destructiveness of competition in human

relationships and the necessity for the substitution of coopera-

tion for competition for our very survival in this complex, tech-

nological, polluted, and conflict-ridden planet are heard. Argu-

ments that the success ethic leads to a dehumanizing, empty,

status-seeking, and materialistic existence are also frequently

heard in the counterculture.

Definite problems arise, however, if success and competi-

tion are no longer effective motivators. What happens to people

who have been motivated most of their lives by goals they no longer

consider valid? Many of them become passive, immobile, never hav-

ing learned to develop self-motivation. Also, what happens to the

blacks-, women, and others who consider themselves to have "made it"

for the first timie-who now discover that the positions or successes

they have newly achieved are no longer valued highly by others? In

a time of rapid value change, the counselor will have no lack of


Much of the shocking (of. Toffler, Future Shock,1970) effect of

such a value change could bo mitigated by restructuring of the

motivational system in the schools, from kindergarten through

graduate school, to maximize self-direction and minimize competi-

tion and the perception of success as a goal in itself, It seems

to this author that such a project would have a humanizing effect

and would minimize the problem of lack of motivation, if (or when)

success and competition lose more of their motivating value.

Sexual Roles-Implications

Two major findings. of this study concerning sex-roles are

that identification with the traditional sex-role for females does

show a relationship to some achievement-related variables (major

choice, educational ambition, ambivalence about success), and that

the females are identifying leas with the traditional female role

than when the Terman-Miles was standardized (1938).

What are the implications for counseling? Upon asking such

a question, another immediately arises. What iq the task of

pS.'cotr.Friy (or counseling)? Is it helping the client make an

adjustment to society as it is? Is it helping her/him to be the

best possible her/him regardless of conventions? Is it some com-

bination of the two? Therapists who take the first approach solely,

that of seeing their job as facilitating adjustment, are quite

likely to be doing their clients a disservice; for in these times

of rapid change a person adjusted to today's cultural milieu may

be maladjusted to tomorrow's if he does not possess either a capacity

to change or a strong internalized value system. Likewise, the

person who seems out of step today may be seen tomorrow as having

been in the vanguard.

The author's personal value orientation as a clinical psychol-

ogist is to welcome and promote the loosening of sexual roles, see-

ing a wide range of behavior as healthy. Men or women who wish to

stay within their traditional roles, or assume many of the role

aspects traditionally reserved for the opposite sex, may all be

viewed as healthy, depending upon other factors (e.g., whether or

not they are being destructive to others or themselves by their


With a much wider range of behavior open to members of both

sexes, opportunities for personal development should be more numer-

ous. However, a widening range of choice often brings tension,

anxiety, and a premature foreclosure or immobilizing indecisive-


It would be extremely difficult and costly to design an

adequate experiment concerning the effect upon Americans of living

in a non-competitive environment, or of living in an environment

in which competitiveness is minimized and cooperation maximized.

However, such experiments-intentional communities-are being formed

and are in existence throughout the country. More defined and

serious purposed than the communes, they would make interesting

social laboratories for studying some of the questions raised by

this paper.


Evaluative Instruments and Instructions























RAITE ____




SEO __





















ONCr _








TErE ______























EHVA _____________





























TIIR'H _____









rEHElR __________



EliVA _____




HAE __




You are going to see a series of verbal leads or cues,

and your task is to tell a story that is suggested to you by each

cue. Try to imagine what is going on in each. Then tell what

the situation is, what lead up to the situation, what the people

are thinking and feeling, and what they will do.

In other words, write as complete a story as you can-

a story with plot and characters.

You will have 20 seconds to look at a verbal cue and

then 4 minutes to write your story about it. Write your first

impressions and work rapidly. I will keep time and tell you when

it is time to finish your story and to get ready for the next cue.

There are no right or wrong stories or kinds of stories,

so you may feel free to write whatever story is suggested to

you when you look at a cue. Spelling, punctuation, and grammer

are not important. What is important is to write out as fully

and quickly as possible the story that comes into your mind as

you imagine what is going on in each cue.

Notice that there will be one page for writing each

story, following the page on which the verbal cue is given. If

you need wore apace for writing any story, use the reverse side

of the previous page-the one on which the cue was presented.

Do not t.rn or go on to th rtext paog until 1 tell you to do so.




1. What is happening? Who are the persons?

2. What has led up to this situation? That is, what has
happened in the past?

3. What is being thought? What is wanted? By whom?

4. What will happen? What will be done?

(A page identical to this one follows each cue.)




























General Questionnaire

Name Age SAx _

Academic year in school (freshman, etc.)

Major (If undecided, say so and list your most probable majors.)

What are your educational goals? (What is the highest degree you
expect to earn and in what area?)

What are your vocational goals once your education is completed?

How many children are there in your family? Brothers Sisters
How many are younger than you? Brothers Sisters
How many are older than you? Brothers Sisters

What is your father's occupation? (If your father is retired or
deceased, please indicate and list his most recent occupa-

What was the highest level of schooling that your father attained?
(Indicate degrees earned, if appropriate)

Is your mother employed outside the home? If not, has she
ever been? What is (was) her occupation?
Was she employed while you were of preschool age?
Io this full or part time employment?

What was t:e highest level of ;choolin that your mother attained?
(Indicate degrees earned, if appropriate.)

What is your marital status? i__n_ ,inle Married
If single, do Jou ever expect to be married? _



You may fill out this test at your convenience and return

it to the mailbox marked "Crummar" in the graduate student mail

room (next to the main psychology office). Failure to do so

will result in loss of experimental credit for this experiment.

Please do not discuss this test with anyone, particularly when

you are working on it. You may disregard the front page and

begin with exercise one.

Before you begin, write your name here:


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CUW 1 ^-


Mary Lewis Crummer was born during the last days

of World War II in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Her

devout Lutheran, ex-high school English-teacher mother

and intellectual, 'r..rcau-iiotlrA, engineering-professor

father instilled in her a strong motive to achieve, re-

sulting in a number of honors (graduated from the Univer-

sity of Florida with high honors, Woodrow Wilson Fellow)

and a certain over-seriousness which has been more than

remedied by the joyous presence of resident Zen-clowns,

husband Arthur, and son Adam Thor.

Interests include people, alternative schools

for designing environments for maximum personal and

spiritual growth, intentional communities, the integration

of religion and sexuality, gourmet and health food cooking,

organic gardening, yoga, and massage.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

X. Great r, Chairman
professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

.-lJu fie. ;. 1, -jM ''Cr
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Mdrvin E. Shaw
Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

C. L I-; 'UI
Associate Professor of Psychology
and Clinical Psychology

I certify that I have road this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope anl quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

,+. H I I ,' i, u ~,0 6J
Professor of Education

J -r:a 107'

This dissertation was submitted to the Department
of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences
and to the Graduate Council, and was accepted as
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

June, 1972

Dean, Graduate School

IIl l lllllll3 1262 08554 7056II
3 1262 08554 7056

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