Reconceptualizing Physical Sex as a Continuum: Are There Sex Differences in Video Game Preference?

Chelsea Lonergan, René Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


With video games representing a rapidly growing media platform, recent events have highlighted conflicts surrounding gender and games. Previous research has established sex-typed cognitive advantages and game genre preference. Potential explanations of how these align have been inconclusive. Concurrently, research on sex development has suggested that binary categorizations of sex (physical sex; male or female) don’t capture the full variation of individuals and are thus inferior measures of sex. Two studies (one replication study) were conducted which use two continuous markers of physical sex (hormonal 2D:4D finger ratio, and continuous skill-based performance) to predict game preference and playing. Using both statistical effect- and equivalence tests, we present a series of p-curves and several possible interpretations based on meta-analytical cutoffs. In general, we find that binary markers of sex significantly predict game preference, while continuous markers significantly do not. These findings challenge the notion of binary sex differences and suggest a more complex relationship between physical sex and video game preferences. Implications for future research on video game playing and sex are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-451
Number of pages31
JournalMass Communication and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 May 2020

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© 2019, © 2019 Mass Communication & Society Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.


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