You are here

Looking Behind The Score

Title: Looking Behind The Score: Skill Structure Explains Sex Differences In Skilled Video Game Performance.
Name(s): Harwell, Kyle W., author
Boot, Walter R., author
Ericsson, K. Anders, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Journal Article
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2018-05-30
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Some have explained large sex differences in visuospatial abilities by genetic adaptations to different roles in primitive hunter-gatherer societies and the interaction of innate biological differences and environmental factors. We explored the extent to which variations in behavior and acquired skills can provide alternative accounts for sex differences in the performance of a complex spatially-demanding video game (Space Fortress). Men and women with limited video game experience were given 30 hours of training, and latent curve analyses examined the development of their ship control performance and behavior. Men had significantly better control performance than women before and after training, but differences diminished substantially over the training period. An analysis of participants' joystick behaviors revealed that initially men and women relied on different patterns of control behaviors, but changes in these behaviors over time accounted for the reduced sex differences in performance. When we controlled for these differences in behavior, sex effects after training were no longer significant. Finally, examining the development of control performance and control behaviors of men and women categorized as initially high and low performers revealed the lower-performing women may have been controlling their ship using an approach that was very different from the men and higher-performing women. The potential problems of analyzing men and women's spatial performance as homogenous groups are discussed, as well as how these issues may account for sex differences in skilled video game performance and perhaps other domains involving spatial abilities.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_wos_000433634800028 (IID), 10.1371/journal.pone.0197311 (DOI)
Keywords: patterns, metaanalysis, gender-differences, women, science, strategies, expert performance, mental rotation ability, spatial cognition, tasks
Publication Note: The publisher’s version of record is available at
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Plos One.
Issue: iss. 5, vol. 13

Choose the citation style.
Harwell, K. W., Boot, W. R., & Ericsson, K. A. (2018). Looking Behind The Score: Skill Structure Explains Sex Differences In Skilled Video Game Performance. Plos One. Retrieved from