Group Coalition In Video Games: How Gender Discrimination Influences How We Choose Our Factions
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The present study will examine how gender stereotypes influence video game players’ choices for a coalition in an online game. Within video games, women are often conceptualized as sexual objects included for the visual enjoyment of male players. Being exposed to a typical female video game avatar may cause video game players to view women as less capable members or leaders of a coalition regardless of the women’s expertise. To test this, participants in the current study completed a brief questionnaire about their video game habits, then read a brief overview of the video game industry. Embedded within the reading material was one of three female gaming avatars: over-sexualized, average or masculine. Participants were told this is the typical avatar women choose when gaming. Participants then played an online game with one male and one female confederate. During the game, participants were twice forced to choose to follow either the male or female confederate down a forked path. Upon completing the game, participants indicated why they chose to follow the male or female. Results do not support the hypothesis. Despite males following the male confederate more often with the over-sexualized condition versus the average or masculine conditions, females followed the female confederate regardless of condition. We suggest these findings indicate that primarily male players are viewing women as less capable leaders when exposed to an over-sexualized female avatar and using these representations as models for real-world behavior. This implies that portrayal of women in video games needs to change.