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The difference between the sexes: Violent Video Games? November 8, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in science.
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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!?

Comments»

1. carlbrannen - November 8, 2007

It is only by clicking on the ballance game link that one can perceive the true sadness of the result.

An alien description of the human species would be something like this: “Homo sapiens are a crafty pack animal particularly gifted in organizing combat. They have good paw-eye coordination due to their propensity for throwing things. Among their many unsual traits, they insist on eating only meat that has been freshly killed by members of their own species.”

2. gordonwatts - November 9, 2007

Ha! Carl, that is great. If I was back at UW I might hang that on my door.

3. 3rb0 - December 17, 2007

Thank u For Blogging

http://1tb.blogspot.com


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