Third-person effect and gender in online gaming

Lin Zhang


This study explores gender differences in third–person effect in the context of online games based on a survey conducted with 574 online gamers. Not only has it confirmed the existence of self–other perceptual gap regarding the effect of online games, it has also validated the gender difference in effect perception as both genders are found to perceive the opposite–gender as more susceptible to the influence of negative effects of games, and the size of this gender–based third–person effect is larger for women than for men. Perceived exposure, i.e., the fact that men are perceived by both genders to be more frequently engaged in game playing, are found to be the best predictor of the gender–based third–person effect. The level of play, or self–report real exposure, is negatively correlated with gender–based third–person effect. Consistent with previous studies, when the gamers are asked to evaluate positive impacts of online games, a reversed first–person effect is detected. The study has offered several insights into the relative power of the different explanations of third–person effect as well as gender differences in online game consumption and effects perception.

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