Bad gamers more likely to bully women online, finds study

BAD gamers are more likely to bully and harass women online, according to a new Australian study.

Written by researchers from the University of New South Wales and Miami University of Ohio, the study examines player communication during 126 Halo 3 matches.

Dividing matches into three groups, the researchers would either stay silent or play recorded statements like "good game everyone" in male and female voices, Gameplanet.com.au reported.

The study, published in the Public Library of Science, examined responses from players, comparing their tones against wins/losses, skill rankings, and kill/death ratios.

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They found that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced teammate, especially when they themselves were performing poorly.

But lower-skilled players behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player.

"We found that skill determined the frequency of positive and negative statements spoken towards both male- and female-voiced teammates,'' the researchers wrote.

"In addition, poorer performance (fewer kills and more deaths) resulted in more negative statements specifically in the female-voiced manipulation. 

"We thus argue that our results best support an evolutionary explanation of female-directed aggression.

"Low-status males that have the most to lose due to a hierarchical reconfiguration are responding to the threat female competitors pose. 

"High-status males with the least to fear were more positive, suggesting they were switching to a supportive, and potentially, mate attraction role."


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