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Reconceptualizing Physical Sex as Continuous: Are there Sex Differences in Video Game Preference?

  • Author(s): Lonergan, Chelsea
  • Advisor(s): Weber, René
  • et al.
Abstract

With video games representing a rapidly growing media platform, current events have pushed conflicts surrounding gender into the spotlight of the video gaming world. Previous research has established sex-typed cognitive advantages as well as sex-typed genre preference of video games. Potential explanations of how these align have been inconclusive. Concurrently, research on sex development has suggested that binary categorizations of sex (physical sex; male or female) don’t capture the full variation of individuals and as such have been recognized as inferior measures of sex. This thesis uses two continuous markers of physical sex (hormonal 2D:4D finger ratio, and continuous skill-based performance) to predict video game preference and playing. Using univariate effect and equivalence tests, we find that binary markers of sex predict game preference, while theoretically more valid continuous markers do not. Our results challenge the notion of binary sex differences in predicting video game preferences, and suggest a more complex relationship between physical sex and video game preferences. Implications for future research on video game playing and sex are discussed.

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