Videogame play is more popular among young males compared with young females. The present study aims to investigate spatial visualization ability as an explanation for this gender gap. The premise is based on a well‐documented gender difference in spatial ability favoring males and assumes that spatial ability would be an advantage in playing videogames. Also, reports in the literature indicate improvement in spatial ability following videogame play, suggesting that play may specifically task spatial ability.
A convenience sample of 114 university students aged 18 to 24 answered questions on attitudes and videogame behavior and completed a psychometric test of spatial visualization ability.
Regression analysis indicated that interest in videogame play is significantly predicted by gender, interest in science fiction, and number of semesters of foreign language completed (with the latter having a negative influence). Mediation analysis suggested that neither of the latter two variables mediates the gender effect. Although spatial visualization ability was significantly correlated with videogame interest, this was found to be a spurious (non‐causal) association, due to both variables being influenced by gender.
Limitations include the narrow age range of subjects (18‐24) and the focus of the study on spatial visualization ability and a limited number of other variables.
The finding that semesters of foreign language completed and interest in science fiction significantly predict videogame interest is apparently novel. The former variable may be a proxy for preference for verbal (semantic) information processing over visual information processing, and this may explain the significant negative correlation between semesters of foreign language completed and videogame interest.
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