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Education Entertainment Games Science

Male Brains 'Wired for Videogame Obsession' 125

thinkzinc notes a story indicating that, according to a new study, men have a harder time putting down a controller than women do. Researchers at Stanford did brain imaging work on a group of young test subjects while they played a simple PC game. Besides the 'obvious' conclusion that men were more 'aggressive at gaining territory on the screen', the tests also indicated that male brains showed more activity in the reward and addiction components of the brain. "The lead author, Dr. Allan Reiss, noted that most of the video games that are popular with men are territory and aggression-type games. 'These gender differences in the brain may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become hooked on video games than females,' he said. Other recent surveys indicate that about 40 percent of Americans regularly play games on a computer or console, but young males are two or three times more likely than females to feel addicted to video games, Reiss said. "
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Male Brains 'Wired for Videogame Obsession'

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  • The male brain is also wired for interest in questionable pictures of the opposite sex.
  • by mkettler ( 6309 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#22333106)
    Video games are generally written to suit the obsessions of male brains, are they not?

    • by esocid ( 946821 )
      Obviously you've never played http://games.cosmopolitan.com/games/boy-toy/ [cosmopolitan.com]
      /Haven't either, don't worry.
    • It figures since they are written by men.
    • I agree. While using a "territory" game may fall inline with the mass's perception of video games, they're not the only games out there. The industry has evolved to gear games at their male target audience, though recently innovative and casual games outside of the "territory and agression" mentality are becoming common. When you test subjects on games in which the male brain is supposed to be inclined, it should be little surprise that they find the games more addictive. This shouldn't necessarily mean
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Precisely. Most modern games are written for men, because men were the big audience when they came out, because men were the ones writing them when they came out.

        Can't really study something so heavily biased and expect the bias to go away.

        Try them on a game like Animal Crossing or Nintendogs or something and if guys are still more likely to get addicted than I'll buy the verdict.

        For some anecdotal evidence one of my relatives is a total anti-gamer except for 3 games, Diner Dash, Animal Crossing, and Guitar
      • by XanC ( 644172 )
        Definitely true. My aunt and (female) cousin can play The Sims for hours on end. It suddenly made sense when I realized that it's an electronic version of playing with dolls. And the difference between dolls and action figures is playing at life versus playing at war, which I think is the difference (generally) between games that appeal to women and games that appeal to men.
  • by sam_paris ( 919837 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#22333114)
    ...and in other news, scientists studying grizzly bears in Canada have finally shown that they do, in fact, defecate in the woods.
    • by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <rustypNO@SPAMfreeshell.org> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:24AM (#22333804) Homepage Journal
      ..and the fact that this study presents something that people think of is obvious is the only reason it's getting news.

      They only ran the test on 22 people, and all they did was play a single video game. How can they possibly draw any meaningful conclusions from that?

      And how is the an issue with "the male brain" rather than, for example, "men living in America who have had previous exposure to video games." How can they be even a little sure that the entire history of guys liking games more than girls isn't cultural (I'm not saying that it is, btw. Just that this study does nothing to account for anything like that).

      He might as well be basing his study on Phrenology, for all the science that he's putting into this.
    • A parallel study having determined that the Pope is, after all, Catholic.

      Neither the bear's religious persuasion nor the Pope's toilet habits could be determined, however.
  • by EveryNickIsTaken ( 1054794 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:38AM (#22333130)
    Female Brain 'Wired for Shopping Obsession'... news at 11.
    • I know that my videogame playing leads me to spend far more money than I would if I spent my time on a more constructive hobby. Anyone can become weak and do foolish things.
    • Whoever marked the parent as troll maybe be a no-tail?

      Or whatever they call themselves again.............

      WOMEN! That's it. /Goes back to IDE
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Burpmaster ( 598437 )

      Kent Brockman: The weather service has warned us to brace ourselves for the onslaught of Hurricane Barbara. And if you think naming a destructive storm after a woman is sexist, you obviously have never seen the gals grabbing for items at a clearance sale.

      Marge: Hrm... that's true... but he shouldn't say it.

  • We need legislation banning video games. We must protect us from ourselves!
  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:53AM (#22333358) Homepage Journal
    Every time I read a report of this form it always has the underling tone that what men are better at is a debilitating weakness. Why?
    • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:25AM (#22333822) Journal
      Woman good, men bad

      It just goes along with how men are portrayed in most commercials and sitcoms as bumbling, sex starved idiots who have to be set straight but the level headed woman.
      • c/but/by
      • by nbauman ( 624611 )
        Men are good for nothing but sex and programming.

        I can live with that.
    • I'd agree. The majority of these things paints males as much closer to barbaric creatures. I see this (horribly insufficient) study and think "Wow, men are more likely to be able to relax and enjoy themselves, show an increased desire to deal with their mental issues responsibly, and have much higher coordination skills!" With the exception of perhaps reading, music, and exercise, there are few "addictions" that are as good for the mind as some video gaming can be - there's no reason to paint us as villa
      • The majority of these things paints males as much closer to barbaric creatures.

        I see nothing wrong with that. I like being barbaric. I like to scratch my nuts when I first wake up in the morning. I like to just shrug it off when women talk about their feelings (Here's a clue, ladies. If you're not my wife, I don't give a flying fuck about your feelings). I like to eat leftover pizza for breakfast and wash it down with a colder beer. I like porn. I like loud, nasty rock 'n roll. I like sex and violence.

        After I'm done with my day's work I like to fire up a game and beat the everlovi

    • "Female virtue has been held in suspicion from the beginning of the world, and ever will be." - Napoléon Bonaparte
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrNemesis ( 587188 )
      I'm lucky enough to have a circle of friends, both male and female, who are highly attuned to this gender bias in advertising and equally adept at ignoring it. Couple that with the fact that none of us watch much TV and that most of us are aware that large numbers of people are still institutionally sexist and we usually just laugh and decide not to let it offend us. Not sure if the US gets it worse than we do in the UK (there's an inherent sample bias in that people bitching abotu it on /. are largely male
  • ...the article is saying the male brain responds more actively to a specific type of game. One cannot draw a general conclusion from this. I'm not the least bit surprised that aggressive, competitive, territory-domination games are more popular amongst men, though.
    • I could care less about aquiring territory in some game. Now please excuse me because I'm about to make level and I have my eye on this sweet mace.
  • I call bull! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techpawn ( 969834 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @10:57AM (#22333394) Journal
    My girlfriend is JUST as addicted, if not MORE to the same games as I am. Oblivion and Black and White 2! It becomes a system of trade offs of who's playing what at what time...

    It has more to do with the person then the gender! She can wale on me in UT and I make rockin' brownies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tongsy ( 1188257 )
      All that means is that your girlfriend is actually a man.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dctoastman ( 995251 )
      The plural of anecdote is not data
    • In other news:
      Study which finds that women are more likely to contract breast cancer was determined to be invalid due to scientists discovering that some men have breast cancer.
      • It's just bad science to use behavioural science [wikipedia.org] and attribute the findings to gender. You could, if you really wanted to stretch it, perhaps apply this to African American Males are more aggressive than their counter parts. We're seeing the Simpson principle at work and as others have pointed out, it may have been due to the games selected. I wonder how many of their male gamers would have been so inclined to addiction if it was "Barbie's Pony Adventure"
    • I agree. I have trouble putting down the controller, but my gf is afraid of picking it up because she can't stop whatsoever until I snap her out of it.

      I think it has to do with attention span. Those who love constant stimulation like my gf get a serious high from video games like the Sims where there is always things going on.
    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      Maybe you are right. Or maybe "she" was born a man. It would explain how someone on slashdot has a girl friend.
  • Sure? (Score:3, Funny)

    by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @11:00AM (#22333432) Homepage
    Mario and Sonic told me this isn't true.
  • Does this warrant a surgeon general warning on the side of video game packages?
  • Totally bogus: a study of 11 males and 11 females is not nearly adequate to make any generalizations about the population.
    Five bucks say they were students in the researcher's class.
  • I can put the controller down whenever I want!
  • Title of the article: "Male brains wired for video game obsession"

    That is VERY offensive. Men in the U.S. are the targets of an extreme amount of hostility. I'm guessing that the person who wrote that headline knew that being hostile toward men is in fashion, and wrote it to get attention for the advertisements.

    Quote: "These gender differences in the brain may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become hooked on video games than females," he said.

    Fraud: He has not shown any gender differences in the brain. He has shown that, at the time, those particular subjects were using their brains differently.

    The article does imply something useful about brains, however. The fact that Slashdot editors wanted us to see it may be an indication that the editors are not in touch with reality. Maybe that's because the editors spent so much time playing games rather than trying to relate to reality.

    If you want to experience a society where men aren't hated, go to Brazil. However, don't fall in love with the first woman you meet, like many of my acquaintances.
    • If you want to experience a society where men aren't hated, go to Brazil.
      I don't see why you're bothered about misandry. Look upon it as an excuse to treat women with the contempt that most of them deserve.
    • Regardless our brain is "wired for this & that",any human has the ability to encompass this and evolve (that 's our main "feature") so we don't need excuses for this, I myself am a gamer, I enjoy cleverly designed games but I'm not addicted to all (only one, and I'm still fighting it). If that's the case I don't mind ,the real problem is for kids who often become to attached to this virtual world...
    • Men do seem to like video games far more than women.I work for a hotel in Prague and my boss recently bought a PS3 for the staff. All the men workers spend every free moment playing, while the women never touch any of the games. The women take walks near Prague Castle while the men stay back and play Madden all day.
  • The researchers found that while both men and women quickly picked up the game's concepts, the guys were somewhat more aggressive and successful at gaining "territory" on the screen.

    As there are no further details on what the game actually encompassed, we can assume 'gaining territory' was the sole purpose of the game. Duh, men have a tendency (either because of nature or nurture) to be more aggressive, and if the purpose of the game is to be aggressive they will enjoy it more. Nearly all games cater to thi

    • Women are more addicted to games that they can play well and are unoffended by.

      Men have spent years getting desensitized to blowing someone's head off. (Or I should say are more likely). They're also more likely to have spent a great amount of time mastering the control schemes. A huge hurtle to overcome.

      My Mom was addicted to a game called "birds" for about a year. All the game was was a territorial game. You fly around drawing a line and sealing off "territory" until the birds are trapped in small li
  • Male Brains 'Wired for Videogame Obsession'

    Female Brains are wired for...
  • Mine is wired for a CowboyNeal obsession.
  • So, do this mean I can now officially call video gaming a disability, then collect insurance while staying home to play all day instead of working?
  • historically, men have been hunters and women have been gatherers.
    men seek to dominate or subjugate the world around them, often through force.
    women seek to collect objects of beauty and nest themselves in comfort.

    hunting and catching an object of sexual desire is not all that different from leveling in WOW or winning races & collecting cars in Gran Turismo.

    had to laugh at the "womens brains wired for compulsive shopping" because just look at our examples from popular culture: women and shoes! precious
  • It should be "Games designed to appeal more to the male brain."

    News at 11.
  • Male brains wired for video game obsession, because everyone knows a girl wouldn't get obsessed with The Sims or World of Warcraft. Nope. Only males.

    In other news, little girl brains are wired to enjoy playing with toys (now that sounded ambiguous), a research revealed by surveying boys and girls when given Barbie dolls to play with.

  • Meanwhile all the women are watching American Idle and all of the other "reality" TV crap. So are there brains more predisposed to like mindless force-fed entertainment?
  • Link to actual paper (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Luyseyal ( 3154 ) <swaters@ l u y . info> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @03:57PM (#22338810) Homepage

    Here's the actual paper: Hoeft_2008JPsychiatrRes.pdf [stanford.edu]

    I emailed the progenitor of the paper about the "kind of video game" issue. I posit that word jumble games and MMORPGs are the sort of games that are likely to addict women.

    If he ever writes back (unlikely), I'll post.

    • by Luyseyal ( 3154 )
      So he wrote back saying he agreed with that. No apologies for the overreaching abstract and conclusion, though.

  • My wife is ready for "just one more song" then I am when we are playing.
  • What a meaningless study, do you really need a study for this that money is spent on? This is like saying that: The study shows that if you cut your finger off it will bleed, and the blood will be, yes, red. It will also hurt, and you will only have 4 fingers remaining on your hand. What a load of bullshit. There are less women who are interested in playing games to begin with.
  • Makes sense in a way. In many tribal situations, the men go on long hunting trips. Sometimes the hunt lasts for days, as they track an animal like a boar and try to trap it. If men were easily bored or distracted during this time, the tribe would go without meat. So it makes sense that men would be wired to "obsess" on one activity for long periods if there is a reward involved.

    And for those seeing this as an attack against men, just look at it another way: women lack the brain wiring that gives us guys the
  • ...seemes to be ignored in this 'study'.

  • http://orangehammer.ytmnd.com/ [ytmnd.com]

    This clip is a guy screaming his head off as his guild nears victory and then kills Ragnaros in World of Warcraft for the first time (and lots of his guildmates cheer too.)

    Somehow, I can't imagine many women getting THIS worked up over what amounts to some orange pixels on a screen.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun