chapter  12
Outwit, outplay, outcast? Sex discrimination in voting behaviour in the reality television show Survivor
ByGabrielle Wall
Pages 12

At the reunion show for Survivor: Thailand, host Jeff Probst recommended to prospective contestants that they study John Nash’s ‘Non-cooperative game theory’. While Survivor can essentially be viewed as a non-cooperative game, it also has many attributes of a cooperative game, such as the forming and maintaining of voting alliances with fellow contestants. However, the ultimate goal of the game, as suggested by its motto Outwit, Outplay, Outlast, is to be the sole contestant remaining in the game after other contestants have been eliminated by the votes of their ‘tribemates’. Thus, contestants are required to make ongoing strategic decisions about which other contestant to vote for in each voting round. These considerations are based on numerous variables, which shift depending on the stage of the game. The current paper examines whether Survivor contestants discriminate in their voting decisions on the basis of sex.