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Joe Wasserman
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Hi all. A study in which I compared people's gendered perceptions of who would have an affinity for playing games on different platforms was recently published in Computers in Human Behavior: Who wants to play? Cueing perceived sex-based stereotypes of games. I would love to hear feedback or field questions from folks in the community!

We showed participants (all college students) a picture of one of three different versions of Splendor (tabletop, tablet, and desktop) and then asked them to rate their beliefs about a "typical woman's" and a "typical man's" affinity for the game they were shown. Highlights/tl;dr of the results comparing these two ratings:

* Men are perceived as having greater affinity for a game than women.
* These stereotypical perceptions are consistent regardless of the game's platform.
* Stereotypical perceptions do not depend on identification with women.
* Stereotypical perceptions are smaller the more an individual identifies with gamers.

Abstract: Male/female-based stereotypes appear to be widespread, providing a potential barrier to women's participation and success in gaming contexts, such as recreational gaming, competitive eSports, and game-based learning. Differences in the strength of stereotypes associated with different kinds of games, which would have implications for reducing these barriers, are currently unknown. In an online between-participants experiment manipulating the platform (analog tabletop, digital tablet computer, digital desktop computer) of the game Splendor, 105 participants responded to questions asking them to separately rate their perceptions of men's and women's affinity for the game. Confirming extant research on gaming stereotypes, they perceived women as having less of an affinity for this game. While this trend emerged similarly between all platforms of the game depicted, the magnitude of this difference was less when participants had a stronger social group identification with gamers. These perceptions did not depend on social group identification with women. Given the potential for stereotypes to discourage women from gaming and threaten their performance and learning in gaming contexts, as well as the prominent and persistent public interest in gaming, we suggest researchers further examine stereotypes and identity in the study of diverse games, game platforms, and powerful perceptions.

You can read and download the full research article, Who wants to play? Cueing perceived sex-based stereotypes of games, for free until December 1st.

ETA: So many great questions have been asked, I wanted to add an FAQ to the original post:
FAQ

Why didn't you do X instead of Y?
As with any study, we had to make trade-offs of various strengths and weaknesses. There are always too many studies that could be done, so we have to decide which are worth pursuing at a given moment. There are always limitations in terms of time, money, other resources, available participants, etc. And this is just one study, so it can't do it all, but it's part of the incremental growth of knowledge on which we can continue to build. Some more specific questions and answers below.

Isn't it a problem that only one game (or Splendor specifically) was included in the study?
Yes and no.
First, no: In experiments, it's important that everything else besides the manipulated variable are standardized and kept as similar as possible. Game platform (tabletop, tablet, desktop) was our manipulated variable, so the fact that Splendor looks very similar in all conditions is a strength. We wanted to know about differences between platforms, all else being equal.

(Additionally, and this wasn't in the article, we were thinking of taking advantage of the faithfulness of the tablet implementation of Splendor for an in-person stereotype threat experiment. Based on the results of this study, however, we scrapped it!)

Yes, possibly: Because this experiment only included one game, it is possible that something specific about Splendor led to these results, which may not generalize to all games. Maybe the theme or art overrode platform differences. We discuss this in the limitations, and attempted to gain some insight through an open-ended question about who they thought would play a game (beginning of section 3.3). Many participants mentioned maleness, interest in the theme (history, fantasy, gems), or interest in other games—but it's not possible to say whether the latter Splendor-specific perceptions were tied to gendered stereotypes about who plays what sorts of games.

Future research (that we might actually do) should absolutely include more variety in terms of the games for which platform is manipulated. Varying different games in the same way would help identify whether these findings generalize to different kinds of games. But if there were differences, because games themselves vary from each other in so many different ways, it would be challenging to isolate which game characteristics may have led to these differences in perception. It's an apples-to-oranges problem. Comparing versions of the same game that vary in limited ways (such as apparent characters' genders, miniatures versus cubes, etc.) would mitigate this problem.

Isn't it a problem that all participants were Communication Studies students at a single university?
Also yes and no! Yes, there are definitely problems of WEIRD-ness and generalizability to other studies.

In some ways, less so. This was preliminary for an in-lab stereotype threat study comparing reactions to Splendor on table or tabletop platforms. We scrapped that study because of the results of this one, the idea being that without differences in stereotypical perceptions, it's unlikely for there to be differences in stereotype threat. Also, because many of our Comm Studies courses fulfill general education requirements, we get a wide diversity of majors from across the university's colleges.
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Moose Detective
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Some random thoughts, and then my main point.

Boy am I glad that I never participated in Academia.

Without clicking through to the dozens of other papers listed in yours, isn't the point of "equal participation in gaming between men and women" based on the most generous definition of gaming to include Candy Crush and other mindless time-wasters and Minecraft/theSims which are more activity than game?

How much a person identifies as a gamer makes them stereotype gamers less, and women stereotype just as much as men. These both make sense to me.

One thing Im curious about is if the people who failed the attention test were more or less likely than the others to make the gamer=male generalization?



Ok lets get on the main point.

My biggest "problem" with this study is that you used ONE game, and that game is one of the ugliest, driest-looking games on market. The art is stuffy and boring (which I assume would ping highly male to most people), the poker chip gems will ping poker (which in turn pings male) and I would also bet the theme of gem merchants pings male and the use of the phrase "prestige points" pings male.

I actually think that the lack of difference across platforms speaks to that also, the game always looks dry and bland. The tabletop version doesn't really have 3-dimensional components beyond the poker chips, so the platform makes no difference, the game looks boring no matter how its presented.

I speculate that if you used multiple games, you would get a wider range of responses. As a light-medium Euro, Takenoko would probably get more female-friendly answers than Splendor, Ticket to Ride (trains), or Settlers of Catan (also kinda bland looking) because of the components, art-style, and theming. And I would extend that to any game with softer art, brighter colors, and animal pieces or avatars.

I would even bet that if you ran the same test with the same people again, using the upcoming Sweet Mess game - which seems to be very Splendor-like but with over-the-top production values and a cooking theme, that your answers would shift somewhat.

What would really have been interesting would be to use a game like Arkham Horror or some other medium-heavy Ameritrash COOPERATIVE game both with and without showing the playable female characters. Even a competitive Euro with playable personas might shift views.

Even a game like Five Tribes, a "dry-playing" abstract game with a bidding component is visibly way more appealing than Splendor.

Using multiple games might have even given insights as to WHY this gamer=male stereotyping happens and therefore how to market it against it if you want to. Or it could have just further proven that people just think that women have better things to do than waste time playing games.

While Splendor is a gateway level game, I would NEVER use it as a gateway board game except for maybe die hard card players? Its simply not visually appealing enough, and not visually appealing means it will be perceived as being for older, maler gamers who are prioritizing competition above fun.

At the end of the day, is the point of this study just to prove that a stereotype exists - in which case choosing Splendor is potentially rigging the results in my eyes - or is to actually be useful and find out WHY a stereotype exists? Was the choice of ONE game made to keep some sort of standard across the board, or was it just a case of time/funding/whatever limiting the study?



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Quote:
I speculate that if you used multiple games, you would get a wider range of responses. As a light-medium Euro, Takenoko would probably get more female-friendly answers than Splendor, Ticket to Ride (trains), or Settlers of Catan (also kinda bland looking) because of the components, art-style, and theming. And I would extend that to any game with softer art, brighter colors, and animal pieces or avatars.


So, the fact that I enjoy brain burners, 18XX or other heavy economical games, and I'm grateful to Settlers for having been a great gateway game for many but apart from that it's just a mediochre game makes me an outlier of my gender?

You would be surprised by how many women are into wargaming, miniature games or other games that stereotypically are considered "for men"
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Rob Stevenson
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With all the respondents to the survey being students studying Communications at (presumably) West Virginia University, don't you have an overly homogeneous sample to extrapolate from? Particularly when you consider that Communications is phony major? Lubchenko learn nothing. Nothing!


EDIT

I meant to add that it was an interesting read, thanks for posting.
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Scarlet Witch wrote:
Quote:
I speculate that if you used multiple games, you would get a wider range of responses. As a light-medium Euro, Takenoko would probably get more female-friendly answers than Splendor, Ticket to Ride (trains), or Settlers of Catan (also kinda bland looking) because of the components, art-style, and theming. And I would extend that to any game with softer art, brighter colors, and animal pieces or avatars.


So, the fact that I enjoy brain burners, 18XX or other heavy economical games, and I'm grateful to Settlers for having been a great gateway game for many but apart from that it's just a mediochre game makes me an outlier of my gender?

You would be surprised by how many women are into wargaming, miniature games or other games that stereotypically are considered "for men"


Ok, that's not what I said AT ALL.

We're talking about peoples' , and more specifically non-gamers' from OP's study, PERCEPTIONS of who would play what game.

We are not talking about the REALITY of who plays what game. My girlfriend likes Splendor more than I do, started with Catan right alongside me, has played tons of big games like Gloomhaven and Arkham Horror and 7th Continent, full campaigns of D&D (with and without me) and plays most of the time that I do. She paints my minis, and while she doesn't love heavy economics games and I dont really get much wargaming stuff, those are personal tastes. My main game group lately consists of her and her sister. We often game with their friends, ALL GIRLS. In the past two years I would say I was the ONLY MALE AT THE TABLE for 80% of my game time. I am not "surprised" at women playing games, I promise you that.

In accordance with OP's findings, I heavily identify as a gamer, so I heavily am NOT biased to think that its a male-only thing.

We are talking about the general public's perception of these games. And I THINK the general public will be judging the SPECIFIC game based on art, theme, components, etc when determining which gender is more likely to play the game. So I believe the finding of "this game would be played by males" is highly specific to Splendor itself and not all games.

Do we understand each other now?
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C&H Schmidt
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stevelabny wrote:
Without clicking through to the dozens of other papers listed in yours, isn't the point of "equal participation in gaming between men and women" based on the most generous definition of gaming to include Candy Crush and other mindless time-wasters and Minecraft/theSims which are more activity than game?
Oh man, this is a point of view I find so aggravating! "Women play the wrong games, not real games, so they're not gamers!". Ugh! Who are you to decide what's a game and what isn't?
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Jay Jasper
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Without reading anything more than the OP in terms of the study, it strikes me that those who identify as gamers, aka those who have actual extensive experience of the gaming community, are less likely to view who plays a game stereotypically. Because, surprise-surprise, they actually know women who play heavy games, ugly games, wargames, rpgs, etc., and men who enjoy Dinosaur Island, play Herbaceous, and Marrying Mr. Darcy.

As for splendor being “ugly”...seriously that isn’t an objective truth. It’s simply your subjective perception of the artwork. I don’t find the artwork ugly. I actually found it rather attractive the few times I’ve played it, for what it is.

It would be interesting to test your statements that A) it’s an ugly game, B) it’s one of the driest games, C) men are drawn to stuffy, boring art, D) poker chips, gem merchants, and prestige points ‘ping’ male.

Looks to me like these are all opinions stated as facts.

Frankly, I find Splendor rather gender neutral, it doesn’t scream masculine or feminine to me. It screams set collection.
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Gswp wrote:
stevelabny wrote:
Without clicking through to the dozens of other papers listed in yours, isn't the point of "equal participation in gaming between men and women" based on the most generous definition of gaming to include Candy Crush and other mindless time-wasters and Minecraft/theSims which are more activity than game?
Oh man, this is a point of view I find so aggravating! "Women play the wrong games, not real games, so they're not gamers!". Ugh! Who are you to decide what's a game and what isn't?


Well, because Minecraft/theSims are way more activity than game. And because playing CandyCrush while you wait on line somewhere isn't trying to win or compete, its just busywork.

Is building Legos a game? Is playing with action figures a game? Thats pretty much what Minecraft and the Sims are. There are no win conditions (I know Minecraft has added game-elements to its experience, but the basic minecraft experience is virtual Lego). Is coloring a game? Is singing in the shower a game? Because that's what CandyCrush is to 90% of the people "playing" it.

I don't think that's a problem with "who am I to decide these people aren't gamers?" but more an issue with "how do we define the word game."

Google says
"a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck."

Miriam Webster's third definition is
": a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other"
this is pretty much would I believe. Even co-operative games are the players against the game itself. There are win/loss conditions that people are trying to achieve/avoid.

but MW's first definition is simply
"An activity that one engages in for amusement or fun."
which could literally be ANYTHING including sex and surfing the internet. Neither of which I would describe as a game.

I mean, the "what is a game?" thing is something we see even on BGG itself, which doesn't include puzzles or puzzle type things like RUSH HOUR and other puzzle-games from ThinkFun and SmartGames but then does include all the Escape-Room type games simply because they have a timer and therefore a win/lose condition.

So I get that it can be frustrating that different people use different definitions of words, but let's try not to make it personal or sexist when its just English being English.
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DonkeyJay wrote:

As for splendor being “ugly”...seriously that isn’t an objective truth. It’s simply your subjective perception of the artwork. I don’t find the artwork ugly. I actually found it rather attractive the few times I’ve played it, for what it is.

It would be interesting to test your statements that A) it’s an ugly game, B) it’s one of the driest games, C) men are drawn to stuffy, boring art, D) poker chips, gem merchants, and prestige points ‘ping’ male.

Looks to me like these are all opinions stated as facts.



Yes, its my opinion that Splendor is ugly and dry. That pretty much goes without saying. Ugly is always opinion and dry in relation to board games too.

As people's perceptions that those things ping male I clearly said "I assume" which means I'm not presenting as a fact, but a supposition or hypothesis.

Which is exactly why Im curious about why only ONE game was used.
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Great article. It was interesting to read. thumbsup

Two things:
1. You could repeat the test with different games to see of the game you show affects the outcome;
2. Like someone mentioned before, you could try to get a more diverse group of respondents

Apart from that:
Yes I’m male an I do like to play Marrying Mr. Darcy. Boys like literature too..
No I haven’t played Herbaceous yet, but that’s only because I’ve never had the opportunity. The artwork looks very appealing to me.
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Jay Jasper
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stevelabny wrote:
DonkeyJay wrote:

As for splendor being “ugly”...seriously that isn’t an objective truth. It’s simply your subjective perception of the artwork. I don’t find the artwork ugly. I actually found it rather attractive the few times I’ve played it, for what it is.

It would be interesting to test your statements that A) it’s an ugly game, B) it’s one of the driest games, C) men are drawn to stuffy, boring art, D) poker chips, gem merchants, and prestige points ‘ping’ male.

Looks to me like these are all opinions stated as facts.



Yes, its my opinion that Splendor is ugly and dry. That pretty much goes without saying. Ugly is always opinion and dry in relation to board games too.

As people's perceptions that those things ping male I clearly said "I assume" which means I'm not presenting as a fact, but a supposition or hypothesis.

Which is exactly why Im curious about why only ONE game was used.


Probably to simplify data sets. A standardized stimulus, as it were. It would be interesting to try other games, but that might be a different question. Using different games would introduce a LOT of variables, from presentation to mechanics.

Oh, and I forgot to say...CONGRATS on getting published, Joe!
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I know nothing about social sciences. I did not study them in school, I was not trained in the methodologies of social science, nor have I read any academic literature within any social science field. I know very little about control groups, I've never studied how bias and error may skew results, I've never had to limit my field of inquiry to more accurately isolate and study my subject, nor am I aware of the conventions (and widely understood limitations) that govern a great deal of research in your field.

With that said, let me proceed to tell you everything that is wrong with your work...

shake
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I am very surprised--and I don't mean this in a nasty, snarky way--that you can get a study published that tests responses to only a single variable (one board game). That is amazing to me it is considered a complete, valid piece of research. It's as if you were testing people's perceptions of which gender has an affinity for sports, and show participants just a single boxing match.
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starspangledgirl wrote:
I am very surprised--and I don't mean this in a nasty, snarky way--that you can get a study published that tests responses to only a single variable (one board game). That is amazing to me it is considered a complete, valid piece of research. It's as if you were testing people's perceptions of which gender has an affinity for sports, and show participants just a single boxing match.

I’m not sure if this is a very constructive and friendly way of giving feedback.

The OP made himself vulnerable and in response you chop his head off.
 
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cbazler wrote:
I know nothing about social sciences. I did not study them in school, I was not trained in the methodologies of social science, nor have I read any academic literature within any social science field. I know very little about control groups, I've never studied how bias and error may skew results, I've never had to limit my field of inquiry to more accurately isolate and study my subject, nor am I aware of the conventions (and widely understood limitations) that govern a great deal of research in your field.

With that said, let me proceed to tell you everything that is wrong with your work...

shake


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Just over 100 participants is not a very large sample size. Not one that can draw significant conclusions based on a questionnaire...

The hypothesis is well known in public opinion that gaming is male dominated... This doesn't need to be stated as a "barrier" to entry as anytime you speak with people the general consensus is that anyone can join.

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Dirk_M wrote:
starspangledgirl wrote:
I am very surprised--and I don't mean this in a nasty, snarky way--that you can get a study published that tests responses to only a single variable (one board game). That is amazing to me it is considered a complete, valid piece of research. It's as if you were testing people's perceptions of which gender has an affinity for sports, and show participants just a single boxing match.

I’m not sure if this is a very constructive and friendly way of giving feedback.

The OP made himself vulnerable and in response you chop his head off.

Disagree. The critique was valid, and in no way personal. The study does have its limitations. And yes, I have studied experiment design to Degree level (Applied Psychology).
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Dirk_M wrote:
starspangledgirl wrote:
I am very surprised--and I don't mean this in a nasty, snarky way--that you can get a study published that tests responses to only a single variable (one board game). That is amazing to me it is considered a complete, valid piece of research. It's as if you were testing people's perceptions of which gender has an affinity for sports, and show participants just a single boxing match.

I’m not sure if this is a very constructive and friendly way of giving feedback.

The OP made himself vulnerable and in response you chop his head off.


When dealing with research, you must have thick skin. Your ideas will be picked apart. That is science, you HAVE TO question everything.

One of my professors gave us a study one day to critique, and summarize. He did not give his impression of the study. Only 25% (roughly) of the people came back with a negative review. The professor then went on to point out all of the flaws in the study.

Most students assumed that because it was published in pub med that it was credible... It was a very good way to convey the point that people are often wrong in their perceptions when conducting research, and not enough measures are taken before hand to minimize that impact on the study.
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AdrianPHague wrote:
Dirk_M wrote:
starspangledgirl wrote:
I am very surprised--and I don't mean this in a nasty, snarky way--that you can get a study published that tests responses to only a single variable (one board game). That is amazing to me it is considered a complete, valid piece of research. It's as if you were testing people's perceptions of which gender has an affinity for sports, and show participants just a single boxing match.

I’m not sure if this is a very constructive and friendly way of giving feedback.

The OP made himself vulnerable and in response you chop his head off.

Disagree. The critique was valid, and in no way personal. The study does have its limitations. And yes, I have studied experiment design to Degree level (Applied Psychology).

Yes the content of the critique was most certainly valid (I made the same point a few posts earlier). The way it was put on the other hand, was a little disrespectful in my opinion.

But I may have read something that wasn’t there.
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Carol Carpenter
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I did not intend to be disrespectful. Clearly the journal that published this study thought it was fine, and it is an accomplishment for the OP. I should have added that I think it's great to focus on gender and board games, because I am very interested in both those topics!

I have been a grant writer for 20 years, having helped hospitals, social workers, and colleges obtain grants for research from foundations and government agencies. I have read hundreds, possibly thousands, of abstracts of studies in behavioral and physical sciences.

I just have never seen a study of this sort. I apologize if my expression of surprise at this seems like "chopping someone's head off."
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Joe Wasserman
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I don't think he would like that.
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Wow, thank you all for your comments and questions! I really appreciate it, and I'm excited that this is generating so much discussion. As an academic, if there's one thing I'm prepared for, it's criticism. Because I see some similar points have come up multiple times, I'm going to mostly respond FAQ-style rather than to individual questions.

Why didn't you do X instead of Y?
As with any study, we had to make trade-offs of various strengths and weaknesses. There are always too many studies that could be done, so we have to decide which are worth pursuing at a given moment. There are always limitations in terms of time, money, other resources, available participants, etc. And this is just one study, so it can't do it all, but it's part of the incremental growth of knowledge on which we can continue to build. Some more specific questions and answers below.

Isn't it a problem that only one game (or Splendor specifically) was included in the study?
Yes and no.
First, no: In experiments, it's important that everything else besides the manipulated variable are standardized and kept as similar as possible. Game platform (tabletop, tablet, desktop) was our manipulated variable, so the fact that Splendor looks very similar in all conditions is a strength. We wanted to know about differences between platforms, all else being equal.

(Additionally, and this wasn't in the article, we were thinking of taking advantage of the faithfulness of the tablet implementation of Splendor for an in-person stereotype threat experiment. Based on the results of this study, however, we scrapped it!)

Yes, possibly: Because this experiment only included one game, it is possible that something specific about Splendor led to these results, which may not generalize to all games. Maybe the theme or art overrode platform differences. We discuss this in the limitations, and attempted to gain some insight through an open-ended question about who they thought would play a game (beginning of section 3.3). Many participants mentioned maleness, interest in the theme (history, fantasy, gems), or interest in other games—but it's not possible to say whether the latter Splendor-specific perceptions were tied to gendered stereotypes about who plays what sorts of games.

Future research (that we might actually do) should absolutely include more variety in terms of the games for which platform is manipulated. Varying different games in the same way would help identify whether these findings generalize to different kinds of games. But if there were differences, because games themselves vary from each other in so many different ways, it would be challenging to isolate which game characteristics may have led to these differences in perception. It's an apples-to-oranges problem. Comparing versions of the same game that vary in limited ways (such as apparent characters' genders, miniatures versus cubes, etc.) would mitigate this problem.

Isn't it a problem that all participants were Communication Studies students at a single university?
Also yes and no! Yes, there are definitely problems of WEIRD-ness and generalizability to other studies.

In some ways, less so. This was preliminary for an in-lab stereotype threat study comparing reactions to Splendor on table or tabletop platforms. We scrapped that study because of the results of this one, the idea being that without differences in stereotypical perceptions, it's unlikely for there to be differences in stereotype threat. Also, because many of our Comm Studies courses fulfill general education requirements, we get a wide diversity of majors from across the university's colleges.

Some replies to more idiosyncratic questions/comments:
stevelabny wrote:
Without clicking through to the dozens of other papers listed in yours, isn't the point of "equal participation in gaming between men and women" based on the most generous definition of gaming to include Candy Crush and other mindless time-wasters and Minecraft/theSims which are more activity than game?
Delimiting what is a "game" or who is a "gamer" is a highly contentious issue, both within and outside of academia. If you could see how much ink has been spilled on the topic... you'd be doubly grateful you're not in academia! :headshake:

stevelabny wrote:
One thing Im curious about is if the people who failed the attention test were more or less likely than the others to make the gamer=male generalization?
Interesting question, and I'm not totally sure! If there were any differences, they weren't systematic or substantial enough to substantively alter the results, as we ran the statistical tests both with and without to be sure. (Not as a data fishing exercise, but as "stress test" for our results—we report both!)

stevelabny wrote:
At the end of the day, is the point of this study just to prove that a stereotype exists - in which case choosing Splendor is potentially rigging the results in my eyes - or is to actually be useful and find out WHY a stereotype exists?
Neither: the point was to see whether we were right in our ideas about differences in stereotypical perceptions between game platforms. This is useful both academically and practically, because differences in these perceptions would be expected to have real consequences.

rosie_187 wrote:
...Particularly when you consider that Communications is phony major? Lubchenko learn nothing. Nothing!
Haha. We're Communication Studies not Communications! (And actually have a pretty good post-graduation job placement rate for our majors.)

DonkeyJay wrote:
Without reading anything more than the OP in terms of the study, it strikes me that those who identify as gamers, aka those who have actual extensive experience of the gaming community, are less likely to view who plays a game stereotypically. Because, surprise-surprise, they actually know women who play heavy games, ugly games, wargames, rpgs, etc., and men who enjoy Dinosaur Island, play Herbaceous, and Marrying Mr. Darcy.
That's exactly the explanation we thought most likely, as well! It ties nicely into research on intergroup contact. Currently, it's still at best only a very compelling hypothesis that needs testing!
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Joe Wasserman
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I don't think he would like that.
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Slowmow wrote:
Just over 100 participants is not a very large sample size. Not one that can draw significant conclusions based on a questionnaire...
It's not very large, but it's not tiny, either.

Quote:
The hypothesis is well known in public opinion that gaming is male dominated
But it's been exactly that: a hypothesis. As discussed in the literature review, this seeming popular opinion hasn't been empirically documented in the way we did until now.

Quote:
This doesn't need to be stated as a "barrier" to entry as anytime you speak with people the general consensus is that anyone can join.
Given how much we know about gatekeeping and boundary policing around what is a game, who is a gamer, and who is most aggressively disrespected in many (not all) gaming circles, I beg to differ. We discuss a lot of research on this topic in our literature review.
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I'm curious how you think the results of this study suggest gaming should be approached beyond simply "further research".

You write that based on published work academics should be cautious of using gaming as a teaching tool because of the threat of stereotype creating a knowledge gap (presumably by women themselves feeling like they would have a lower affinity for this teaching method) but you also found that the more strongly someone identifies with being a gamer, the less likely they are to presume male affinity (and woman non-affinity) for (this) game. This superordinate identity seems to suggest that greater exposure to gaming in many contexts would be a useful thing. Whenever threads about gatekeeping and women in gaming come up there are anecdotal arguments suggesting that it's both a non-issue and that it's also pervasive, but it seems like in general what you found to be true is true in many ways writ large: that when you get to know someone rather than relying on a stereotype of them, you find that the fuller picture is more relateable and cohesive.

It's not hard though, to understand that stereotypes are both useful as simple heuristics, and frustrating to those people who feel unfairly maligned or impacted by them.
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anatana wrote:
I'm curious how you think the results of this study suggest gaming should be approached beyond simply "further research".

You write that based on published work academics should be cautious of using gaming as a teaching tool because of the threat of stereotype creating a knowledge gap (presumably by women themselves feeling like they would have a lower affinity for this teaching method) but you also found that the more strongly someone identifies with being a gamer, the less likely they are to presume male affinity (and woman non-affinity) for (this) game. This superordinate identity seems to suggest that greater exposure to gaming in many contexts would be a useful thing. Whenever threads about gatekeeping and women in gaming come up there are anecdotal arguments suggesting that it's both a non-issue and that it's also pervasive, but it seems like in general what you found to be true is true in many ways writ large: that when you get to know someone rather than relying on a stereotype of them, you find that the fuller picture is more relateable and cohesive.



It rather reminds me of the old ‘girls are not good at math’ paradigm. A poor reason to shunt all the girls into home ec over hard sciences. yuk What gamers may be saying is games are a legit pedagogical tool for those that enjoy games, independent of gender or perception of gender. That just like in math, there are plenty of girls who will take to it like wildfire, and plenty of students who will not.

Seems to me one of the valuable aspects/opportunities of schools is breaking down stereotypes, not reinforcing them, eh?
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Joe Wasserman
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I don't think he would like that.
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^^Designing a successful intervention for mitigating negative and damaging stereotypes is challenging. Exposure to diverse, competent gamers should help, but what's the most appropriate and effective context in which to do so? In a classroom where the goal is to learn? In a more recreational setting? In a mixed gender group so that everyone can see, but at the risk of discomforting some?

I think the ideal intervention would target very young children who have not yet formed gendered stereotypes of games and gamers. I know there has been research on when children become aware of these stereotypes, but I don't know the details off the top of my head. Among students who aren't aware of these stereotypes, stereotype threat can't happen, so such an intervention could take place in classrooms.
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