Study: Male gamers have need to conquer

Study: Male gamers have need to conquer

Is Halo 3 so attractive to men because we have an innate need to conquer, or is it something deeper?

Just what the difference exactly is between male and female gamers is something that has long been the subject of debate, but the results of a recent study in Stanford may hold the answer.

According to new research by Dr. Allan Reiss, the difference between female and male gamers is so fundamental it occurs at the neurochemical level and men and women experience vastly different emotions when gaming.

Dr. Reiss led researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in a worlds-first imaging study which performed MRIs of gamers as they played a bespoke computer game, according to The results showed that men and women have vastly different brain activity when gaming, with men having more activity in the mesocorticolimbic region of the brain.

This section of the brain is the one which governs feelings of reward and addiction and has led Dr. Reiss to think that male gamers are so fond of the hobby because it stimulates the basic male need to conquer.

"These gender differences may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become 'hooked' on video games than females," said the research team in a paper on their findings.

"I think it's fair to say that males tend to be more intrinsically territorial," added Dr. Reiss.

Do you game to get that feeling of being a conqueror, or is it more for a feeling of escape? Let us know in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
bowman 27th May 2008, 12:48 Quote
Wow, a study that doesn't serve as the foundation for a video game ban, or that hasn't been commissioned by entrepreneuring career vampires (politicians). Interesting. I'll have a read
liratheal 27th May 2008, 12:58 Quote
That looks like a really interesting read. Bookmarked for later consumption!
Veles 27th May 2008, 13:06 Quote
Hmmm, my gf still enjoys killing people on Halo 3
Major 27th May 2008, 13:12 Quote
I can see were they are coming from...
fwalm 27th May 2008, 13:18 Quote
I agree with it, I like to conquer things in games.
Jordan Wise 27th May 2008, 13:26 Quote
definitely true for RTS games, theres nothing like building an all conquering army and wiping out everyone in one single wave, turtle tactics are so satisfying
StephenK 27th May 2008, 13:34 Quote
As with all things there will be some women and men who don't fit this 'rule' but the study does tie in with similar work on male territorial nature. Sounds very interesting.
phuzz 27th May 2008, 14:03 Quote
Interestingly the press release linked above is from the 2nd or April, must have taken a while to reach the mainstream, anyway, original paper is here, but you'll have to pay $31 to read the whole thing. (ref Journal of Psychiatric Research, Volume 42, Issue 4, March 2008, Pages 253-258 )
I'm not sure about a 'need to conquer', but apparently "males showed greater activation and functional connectivity compared to females in the mesocorticolimbic system" . It doesn't say in the abstract how many people were tested however.
sotu1 27th May 2008, 14:20 Quote
Originally Posted by bowman
Wow, a study that doesn't serve as the foundation for a video game ban, or that hasn't been commissioned by entrepreneuring career vampires (politicians). Interesting. I'll have a read

ya wanna bet? soon they'll use this as evidence to ban all males from playing games for health and saftey reasons!
Tris 27th May 2008, 14:37 Quote
seems perfectly reasonable to me - i definately play games in order to crush hapless opponents. I guess the conquer vs escapism thing can be broken down by type of game played, with shooters falling into the former and rpg's into the latter (with some games offering a degree of crossover of course).
Bauul 27th May 2008, 14:39 Quote
Shouldn't we be looking at this another way? Games are more likely to appeal to men because they are usually designed by men, and are thus pandering to male interests. Games aren't these mystical things that fall out of the sky and attract all the men to them, they are the way they are because men make them like that. If all men suddenly lost the ability to look at monitors, I guarnatee a few years down the line we'd have headlines about why it is that women are addicted to games. It's just affirmation that men are different to women, and that's hardly breaking news is it.
ChromeX 27th May 2008, 16:26 Quote
Originally Posted by Veles
Hmmm, my gf still enjoys killing people on Halo 3
At the risk of an ePunch to the face, does she enojoy a bit of conquering? ;)
Originally Posted by Bauul
Yeah good point, I cant count the number of female characters with boobs the size of your, head in games. Its what guys like though, sex, explosions / general violence etc
FeRaL 27th May 2008, 16:30 Quote
True words of wisdom Bauul. There will always be something to fill the void when a segment of a market disappears.
hughwi 27th May 2008, 16:39 Quote
I have got a copy of the full article here (Courtesy of University subscription) and it really is quite an interesting read, would it be contravening rules or infringement if I was to offer it?
CardJoe 27th May 2008, 16:59 Quote
Probably, yes.
moshpit 28th May 2008, 02:58 Quote
When I get feeling territorial, I go pee on a fire hydrant, no need for video games to fill that need :p
knuck 28th May 2008, 03:38 Quote
I play CTF in UT to gain control of the map and conquer the other team's base ... I also play games in general to win and dominate (I can't play a multiplayer game and have fun just for the sake of playing). I guess it makes sens

Now who am I, Bush, Hitler or Napoleon , mmmmm
[USRF]Obiwan 28th May 2008, 16:27 Quote
Originally Posted by moshpit
When I get feeling territorial, I go pee on a fire hydrant, no need for video games to fill that need :p

Thats because we can actualy put out a fire that way, and 'woman' would burn their asses off, Unless they can do the rare 'standing pee' methode for woman.. But thats waaaaay offtopic ;)
Cthippo 28th May 2008, 20:16 Quote
All males have a need to conquer, it's intrinsic to who we are. Watch a couple of 5 year olds play sometime, all their games tend to revolve around status and pecking order. Why anyone thinks this should be any different in gaming eludes me.
Major 28th May 2008, 20:20 Quote
Arnt games about winning anyway? Isnt that what every human in the world wants to do, win?...
specofdust 28th May 2008, 20:25 Quote
As usual, I hate to agree with Major. But he's right. Find me a man that doesn't want to conquer (ok, ignore wusses). Life is about winning - video games enable us to win repeatedly, with relative ease, and in a very short space of time. That's part of what is awesome about them. That and they're great fun and allow us to pwn noobs.

Really, why do people waste money on this psychobabble crap when it's all so damn self-evident?
Vash-HT 28th May 2008, 21:06 Quote
Some guys its way more obvious than others, I hate playing with idiots who are too competitive. If they're winning they're total dbags and won't stfu about it. If they're losing they blame something in the game or call you a loser and quit.
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