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Statistical Methodology in the Social Sciences

Prof. Shen presents about gender dynamics in virtual worlds

Institute of Social Sciences hosts a conference on "Statistical Methodology in the Social Sciences".


Prof. Shen presents about "Gender dynamics in virtual worlds"

This talk presents results from a series of studies examining gender and behavioral dynamics in large-scale virtual worlds. Methodologically, we not only use behavioral trace data directly collected from virtual worlds (big data), but also match big data with self reports collected from participant surveys. Prior research on online games suggests a perceived "gender gap" in participation and performance, suggesting men as playing more and better than women. We challenge the assumptions about performance using longitudinal performance analysis of men and women in two large MMOs in the United States and China, EverQuest II and Chevaliers' Romance III. Results show that perceived gender-based performance disparities in game worlds seem to result from factors that are confounded with gender (i.e., amount of play), not player gender itself. Therefore, the stereotype of female players as inferior is not only false, but it is also a potential cause for unequal participation in virtual worlds.