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More videogames for girls, demands psychologist

Male-centric gaming puts girls at 'visual-spatial disadvantage'

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Videogames have long been associated with the development of visual-spatial skills in youngsters. But one researcher has warned that a lack of female-friendly titles could be putting girls at a disadvantage.

In a recent study conducted by Michigan State University, Linda Jackson, a Professor of Psychology at MSU, confirmed the common assumption that boys play games more frequently than girls.

She called on game designers to develop more games that appeal to girls so that they're not put at a disadvantage once they start work.

“Girls are at a disadvantage by not having that three-dimensional experience," Jackson said. "So when, say, they get to medical school and they’re doing surgery in the virtual world, they’re not used to [working in a graphical 3D environment]."

MSU researchers quizzed students aged 12 and under 20 middle school and after-school groups in Michigan about the amount of time they spend playing videogames.

This data was then mapped against school grades and performance in maths, reading and visual-spatial skills tests.

While the study showed that, as you might expect, there's a strong link between extended videogame play and below-part school grades, with both boys and girls, gaming did not appear to adversely affect maths and other skills, the study found. ®

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