Boys Like Video Games, Girls Like Color Pink

ms.pacman.jpgAn article in today New York Times reports that a Stanford study illustrates "why men are more likely to report feeling addicted to video games than women are." The study put 22 young adult subjects, 11 women and 11 men, in front of a simple, goal oriented video game as an M.R.I. machine monitored what was going on in their brains. Researchers found that there was more activity in the mesocorticolimbic system, which is involved in feelings of reward and addiction, of the men's brains. Their conclusions? That the findings prove why dudes prefer games over the ladies. Or, as the Times writer so succinctly put it, "Why does is often seem that men enjoy playing video games more than women? Perhaps because they do." Oh, no. (Click "more")

This eye roll inducing response was present in more than a few articles. A blogger over at Wired titled his entry Stanford: Gender Is Key In Love Of Videogames and wrote, "this data is unsurprising, based on the evolutionary traits that led to men being successful hunters. That "killer instinct," if you will, still exists, and when games present the opportunity for it to rear its head, it does so in force." Spoken like a true scientician. Techradar.com jumped on the bandwagon, too, panting breathlessly, "Finally we know why men are more likely to become immersed in video games- it's all to do with the brain." I know I can sleep better now. Even the Stanford School of Medicine web site wrote about the study as if they were penning a guide for neglected girlfriends: "Allen Reiss, MD, and his colleagues have a pretty good idea why your husband or boyfriend can't put down the Halo 3." Is it possible that women don't describe being addicted to video games in numbers as high as men because competitiveness in girls is often discouraged from a young age, while passivity is prized? Or because games are often marketed to straight men? Why are researchers so hot on proving that things like a preference for video games are hardwired into our brains based on gender, anyway? And why is the media so happy to pounce on these stories and hold them up as fact? Studies have been used to prove both that men are funnier than women and that women are better shoppers than their male counterparts. Why can't more writers call BS on these bogus findings? Maybe it's because they don't have a working bullshit detector. I do. It's hot pink and I keep it in my ovaries. -Andy Wright


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