Computer games

Choice of computer games content from the evolutionary psychology perspective

I conducted this project as part of my pursuit of a master’s degree at the Institute of Psychology, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz, Poland, under the supervision of the late Professor Paweł Izdebski, an excellent scholar and supervisor who introduced me to the world of evolutionary psychology.

The original master’s thesis was composed in Polish.

When selecting a computer game to play, players are guided by different preferences. I was curious to see if gender affects the selection of computer games. The content of computer games has been analyzed for the occurrence of evolutionary-relevant stimuli. 179 participants (98 men, 81 women) filled out a modified Inwentarz Oceny Płci Psychologicznej (Gender Inventory) and a questionnaire concerning the selection of computer games. This study did not find any gender differences in the selection of evolutionary-relevant gaming content. The only significant and intriguing results were that men showed a preference (p<0.001) for games containing elements of cooperation, collaboration, brutality, and strategy. In contrast, women showed a preference (p<0.001) for relaxing games.

⚠️ But! ⚠️

What I accidentally found, is that a qualitative analysis based on participants’ declared biological sex showed some interesting results.

For the games players enjoyed:

Both men and women valued cooperation in games, but men preferred some competition too. Women enjoyed social elements like roleplay and customization more. Men preferred fast and challenging gameplay, while women preferred slow-paced, strategic, and relaxing games. Both enjoyed games that require dexterity and perception and value atmosphere and a good story.

For the games players disliked:

Both men and women disliked games with inadequate roleplay, unlikable NPCs, excess violence (disproportionately affecting women), and too much randomness, difficulty, or unintuitive controls. Women also disliked frightening games, and both genders dislike boredom, a poorly-suited plot or humour, and microtransactions. Both men and women find a lack of direction and purpose in games that are not engaging.

It is not very surprising but still good do know. 😁