The difference between the sexes: Violent Video Games? November 8, 2007Posted by gordonwatts in science.
A recent write up in the Economist of a recent paper in Psychological Sciences (could not find the original link) hits on several themes I’ve talked about before. Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at the differences between men and woman’s ability to look at 24 objects and quickly identify which one didn’t belong. I think it is common lore that men are better at spatial reasoning and, indeed, they did better on average than women in this test (68% vs 55% success rate).
Given the number of other results around, I don’t think this difference is unexpected. Though there are plenty of arguments as to why it exists!
They went a little further, however. They then split the people who took the test into two groups. The first group they had puzzle game, Ballance, for 10 hours. The other half were asked to play “Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault” — an action-packed first-person-shooter video game. Afterwards they were retested. In group that played Pacific Assault everyone’s success at identifying the odd object increased — though the women increased much more than the men. In fact, the study says that there was no statistical difference between men and women after playing. Relative performance was unchanged for those playing Ballance. Further, they re-tested five months later and the improved performance at identifying the odd-object-out remained!
Which leads one to ask: is there a video game to fix my memory failings (I can’t remember numbers for the life of me)? Or perhaps one to help me learn how to spell!?