Sexist games = sexist gamers? A longitudinal study on the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes.
Johannes Breuer / Rachel Kowert / Ruth Festl / Thorsten Quandt
From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exposure to media content can affect perceptions of social realities in a way that they become more similar to the representations in the media and, in turn, impact one's beliefs and attitudes. Previous studies on video games and cultivation have often been cross-sectional or experimental, and the limited longitudinal work in this area has only considered time intervals of up to 1 month. Additionally, previous work in this area has focused on the effects of violent content and relied on self-selected or convenience samples composed mostly of adolescents or college students. Enlisting a 3 year longitudinal design, the present study assessed the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes, using data from a representative sample of German players aged 14 and older (N=824). Controlling for age and education, it was found that sexist attitudes-measured with a brief scale assessing beliefs about gender roles in society-were not related to the amount of daily video game use or preference for specific genres for both female and male players. Implications for research on sexism in video games and cultivation effects of video games in general are discussed.
Breuer, J., Kowert, R., Festl, R., & Quandt, T. (2015, accepted). Sexist games = sexist gamers? A longitudinal study on the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(4). doi: 10.1089/cyber.2014.0492