Video Games and Gender Equity

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Here's a fascinating result from Jing Feng, Ian Spence, and Jay Pratt on the subject of the well-known male edge on visiuspatial tests. One such test is known as the Field of Vision test. The researchers gave people the test before, after, and several months after "training" for it by playing two different video games. One game, Ballance (a 3-D puzzle game) didn't do much. But the action game Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault did make a big difference, improving scores for men and women but doing so in a way that drastically narrowed the performance gap. They say they got similar results on the Mental Rotation test.

This seems to suggest that a larger portion of the male/female visiospatial gap may be rooted in socialization than is generally thought. Or else that insofar as the gap is rooted in genetics it's through the mechanism of a male preference for violent video games.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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