A new study has shown that women who behave politely in online games are more likely to have their friend requests accepted than men who do the same thing. Conversely, men are more likely to have their friend requests accepted if they trash-talk and play aggressively than women playing in the same way.

Gamasutra writes that the study was conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Pennsylvania State Universities as part of a series of research papers called ‘Computers in Human Behaviour’. Their game of choice was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for the PlayStation 3, and they played online using unambiguous gender-specific names. They played the game according to a pre-set style, and afterwards sent out friend requests to the people they had just played with to see what sort of response they’d get.

Men who played aggressively and taunted, mocked and otherwise annoyed other players were, rather ironically, more likely to have their friend requests accepted than women who played the same way. Men who played politely, didn’t trash-talk and generally offered positive reinforcement during play had fewer friend requests accepted than female gamers who did the same.

The researchers realised that despite the anonymity offered by the internet, people still bring their “personal baggage” into that space when they communicate. Because there is little else to go on when evaluating another online gamer aside from the information provided by names and the language used when they talk, gamers use their pre-conceived notions – also called stereotypes – to fill in the gaps.

Thus, men and women who behaved as others expected them to got more approval than those who didn’t. Interestingly, the level of skill displayed by gamers of both genders had no impact on friendship request acceptance.

So the internet isn’t actually the level playing field that it was once considered to be when it comes to how people treat others online.

For the full article, head over to Gamasutra.

[Image – Shutterstock]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.