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Challenging the other: exploring the role of opponent gender in digital game competition for female players

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Abstract
The present study investigated the effect of opponent gender on the game experience of female players. Concretely, it looked into skill perception and player emotions of women in same-gender and cross-gender game competition. We set up a 2 (male vs. female opponent) x 2 (low vs. high competitive women) x 2 (lost vs. won game) experimental design in which women were instructed to play against a proclaimed male and female competitor. Unknowingly, participants played against an AI, however, which was configured to produce a winning and a losing condition for each opponent by manipulating difficulty. Results indicated that opponent gender only had an effect on perceived stress, which was higher with male opponents. Moreover, players evaluated their own gaming skills as lower when they thought they were playing against men and the skills of presumed male opponents as higher. Importantly our results also showed that the above described pattern for self-perceived skills and perceived opponent skills was modulated by trait competitiveness with a larger effect size for low competitive women. Overall, this study illustrates that gender dynamics affect the play experience of women in cross-gender gaming competition. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Keywords
SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY, EMOTION, WOMENS MATH PERFORMANCE, STEREOTYPE THREAT, COMMUNICATION, ANXIETY, AROUSAL, ENVIRONMENTS, IDENTITY, INTERNET

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Chicago
Vermeulen, Lotte, Elena Patricia Nunez Castellar, and Jan Van Looy. 2014. “Challenging the Other: Exploring the Role of Opponent Gender in Digital Game Competition for Female Players.” Cyberpsychology Behavior and Social Networking 17 (5): 303–309.
APA
Vermeulen, Lotte, Nunez Castellar, E. P., & Van Looy, J. (2014). Challenging the other: exploring the role of opponent gender in digital game competition for female players. CYBERPSYCHOLOGY BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING, 17(5), 303–309.
Vancouver
1.
Vermeulen L, Nunez Castellar EP, Van Looy J. Challenging the other: exploring the role of opponent gender in digital game competition for female players. CYBERPSYCHOLOGY BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING. 2014;17(5):303–9.
MLA
Vermeulen, Lotte, Elena Patricia Nunez Castellar, and Jan Van Looy. “Challenging the Other: Exploring the Role of Opponent Gender in Digital Game Competition for Female Players.” CYBERPSYCHOLOGY BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING 17.5 (2014): 303–309. Print.
@article{4234218,
  abstract     = {The present study investigated the effect of opponent gender on the game experience of female players. Concretely, it looked into skill perception and player emotions of women in same-gender and cross-gender game competition. We set up a 2 (male vs. female opponent) x 2 (low vs. high competitive women) x 2 (lost vs. won game) experimental design in which women were instructed to play against a proclaimed male and female competitor. Unknowingly, participants played against an AI, however, which was configured to produce a winning and a losing condition for each opponent by manipulating difficulty. Results indicated that opponent gender only had an effect on perceived stress, which was higher with male opponents. Moreover, players evaluated their own gaming skills as lower when they thought they were playing against men and the skills of presumed male opponents as higher. Importantly our results also showed that the above described pattern for self-perceived skills and perceived opponent skills was modulated by trait competitiveness with a larger effect size for low competitive women. Overall, this study illustrates that gender dynamics affect the play experience of women in cross-gender gaming competition. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.},
  author       = {Vermeulen, Lotte and Nunez Castellar, Elena Patricia and Van Looy, Jan},
  issn         = {2152-2715},
  journal      = {CYBERPSYCHOLOGY BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING},
  keyword      = {SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY,EMOTION,WOMENS MATH PERFORMANCE,STEREOTYPE THREAT,COMMUNICATION,ANXIETY,AROUSAL,ENVIRONMENTS,IDENTITY,INTERNET},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {303--309},
  title        = {Challenging the other: exploring the role of opponent gender in digital game competition for female players},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2013.0331},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2014},
}

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