The Weekend Gamer
Thoughts on gaming culture, living among non-gamers, and growing up in the nintendo generation

Males More Likely to Play Games Because of Brain Chemistry

The latest video game related study (seems like it’s becoming quite an in vogue area of research) has found a link between certain areas of the brain and the drive to compete and win.  These areas were found to be more active in males, and is being used as evidence by Professor Allan Reiss for why men tend to be more attracted to video games than women.

Three structures within the reward circuit – the nucleus accumbens, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex – were also shown to influence each other much more in men than in women, the scientists wrote in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

And the better connected this circuit was, the better males performed in the game.

Dr Reiss added: ‘These gender differences might help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become “hooked” on, video games than females. 

‘I think it’s fair to say that males tend to be more intrinsically territorial. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who historically are the conquerors and tyrants of our species.’ 

Dr Reiss, of Stanford University in California, said the research also suggested males are more likely to feel rewarded by computer games.

This could qualify in the “well, duh” category, but it puts some science behind what we already can observe in nature. 

And I bet you all just laughed because I referred to video game playing as “nature”.



7 Responses to “Males More Likely to Play Games Because of Brain Chemistry”

  1. I was going to respond here, but I’ve been wanting to be bold and write a blog about gaming differences between men and women for a long time now. I’ll try to get that post up in the next week.

    I like how the doctor mentions the “tyrants” of our species. For a moment there, I was in danger of forgetting that men are evil and women are victims. 😉

  2. heh, nice post Aaron

  3. Is there a special brain circuit for getting hooked on RPGs? I probably have that one!

    I’ve been hooked on this one game, Aquaria, for about 2 weeks now. Dude, you gotta try it out, it’s like Super Metroid in an underwater world (with voice acting though).

    This sucker won the Idependant Games Festival grand prize last year! And if you play it you’ll see what I mean. I’m hoping you’ll do a review on this one too. Sorry if I sound like an adbot or something, but I’m just amazed at how great a game that just 2 guys and a woman voice actor made themselves.

  4. but I…I LIKE to play games!

    I must have a hermaphroditic brain.

  5. Here it is, my next addiction (well, after the Spore demo in a couple weeks, anyway). Tom Clancy’s Endwar, and it comes out in August (so they say now). It’s a more tactical strategy game (no building or training… purely commanding your troops) and is designed so that every command can be given via the 360 headset. Watch the conference demo and the latest trailer.

    From the conference demo:
    “Unit 3, camera.” = The camera zooms on whoever you’ve designated unit 3.
    “Unit 3, secure Foxtrot.” “Unit 2, move to Bravo.”= Designated unit moves to designated area.
    “Deploy gunships.” = Calls helicopters to the battlefield.
    “Calling all gunships, attack Hostile 1.” = The battle begins!
    “Calling all gunships, retreat.” = Oops! Call your units back.
    “Unit 1, upgrade Bravo… air support.” = Upgrades unit with uplinks, for possible airstrikes (not sure why the location is mentioned)
    “Airstrike, target.” = Bomb the bastards!

    They say everything is delivered to the battlefield by Osprey (chopper) transports, so I’m tempted to believe you can mess up an enemy’s supply plans by shooting down such a transport while in transit.

    If I remember right, the multiplayer will involve a persistent war between the 3 factions. Each team is composed of a small handful of players (I forget how many). Each player controls just one or two (or three?) unit types (tanks, choppers, infantry, etc), which are upgradeable RPG-style, so players can master a particular unit type and then fight cooperatively for their chosen faction.

  6. haha. video games are not nature!!! 🙂

  7. heresy! who let her in here :p

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