Study says women gamers are more accepted when playing nice; opposite is true for men

Aggressive men who play online shooting games are more likely to be accepted as friends, than men who are passive and polite. The opposite is true for women gamers.

A new study of online players of a shooting game found that women who sent out friend requests were more likely to be accepted, if they behaved politely and positively during play, than those who trash-talked. In contrast, trash-talking men were more likely to be accepted than those who went about their game without much verbal tussling.

The study was conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Pennsylvania State Universities and is part of the Computers in Human Behavior series of research papers.

During the field experiment, the researchers played Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 online on PlayStation 3. They created user accounts with clear gendered names, and then played either aggressively, or passively / positively, before sending out friend requests.


Overall, women were more likely to be accepted as friends than men. Beyond that though, men with a record of negative comments were more likely to be accepted than men who gave out positive comments, while positive women were more likely to be accepted than negative women. Skill levels did not affect the findings.

"We found support for the hypothesis that, in general, women would gain more compliance with friend requests than men," stated the report. "We also found support for the hypothesis that women making positive utterances would gain more compliance with friend requests than women making negative utterances, whereas men making negative utterances would gain more compliance with friend requests than men making positive utterances.

"Sex role stereotyping by players in first-person shooter games and other online gaming environments may encourage a social environment that marginalizes and alienates female players. The anonymity of online games may engender endorsement of group-consistent attitudes and amplification of social stereotyping."

Polygon has contacted the researchers for more information.

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