This thread got bogged down on its first go, but the article is interesting enough to deserve a second chance.
Now, that said, I personally don't buy neither just "everything is predefined by biology", nor the "the society shapes everything" positions, both seem like crude over-simplifications.
I've read this yesterday on a complete unrelated topic, and I must say that "I don't buy" it's another form of not understanding statistics.
Biology is what it is and controls major aspects of our lives.
If you can be stronger of some of the biological instincts, good, but statistically biology always wins.
We can say for example that "women prefer laudanum, men prefer opium and pronstitues" is 100% a social construction.
"Women are better at social activities while men are better at competitive activities" much less so.
> Like most psychologists who study personality, Peterson believes there are five core personality traits—extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism—and that these traits are universal across most cultures. The taxonomy is also gendered. For example, women tend to be more agreeable than men. The traits have both biological and cultural origins and, as Peterson is fond of saying, the biological factors maximize in places—like Scandinavia—that have strenuously tried to flatten out the cultural differences. Biology is, therefore, in a sense, destiny, no matter how much people may want to deny it. To his mind, arguing that gender is a social construct or a kind of performance or—as the Ontario Human Rights Code says—an individual’s subjective experience is just wrong. “It’s not an alternative hypothesis,” Peterson says. “It’s an incorrect hypothesis.
-- Jordan Bernt Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.
I never heard Peterson or any research claiming this. The claim is that women PREFER certain activities, while men PREFER others. Given a free choice, they're (on average) likely to pick different things to do with their time. That is very different from being better or worse in something, in fact it's a huge misinterpretation.
And this directly brings us to my parent post, because I just proposed what I believe is the main reason contributing to huge and very emotional reaction to these theories (and the hate that Peterson is getting for it, among others). People (women to be exact) feel threatened by it, they feel it takes from them the freedom of choice and puts them into boxes. Which, I argue, is misinterpretation of what statistics claim. Statistics don't say anything about any individual person, and deal with purely fictional middle person.
However, I stand corrected, as your own interpretation of Petersons theories itself is a big proof that the fear of females over these theories is not irrational, as obviously many men will not miss a chance to jump to conclusions like "we are better at this", which is a malignant construct that science never implied nor supported. Being good at something depends on many factors, and personal preferences are only a minor one. Intelligence, discipline, motivation, work habits are all much more important, and AFAIK sex doesn't influence these, in fact some researchers claim that women are better at self-discipline (again on average)
And there is no amount of social construct that can change this "opportunism".
Either we stop doing and publishing researches on social behavior or we have to assume that it will be distorted and used by malevolent actors or by sheer ignorance.
> and AFAIK sex doesn't influence these
I agree, the only exception I could see is testosterone.
Testosterone, among its other properties, is linked to risk taking behaviour, and risk taking behaviour, apart being of course dangerous, is a way to improve faster.
The Big Five in your quote are a perfect example: They have a significant heritable component, but for all factors heritability ranges from 40 to 60%, meaning 60% to 40% are explained by environment. Yet when listening to Peterson somehow the environmental factor doesn't seem to matter at all, which is clearly in contrast to the current state of research.
But just listen carefully to his more political talks. I sadly can't find it right now, but there was a mythical lecture about different cultures all having a variant of a tree of life. He simply lists a few cultures and then states that this list obviously can't be coincidence, ergo god exists.
He also routinely phrases things like "people high on consciencousness tend to be more conservative" in his public appearences. Which is true! The problem is in the context and the way he says it implies causation where there is no proof of any. Same thing for the gender differences.
Unrelated, but I personally really dislike his strawman arguments like his stance that postmodernism equals leftism, then criticising postmodernist theory. Practically all leftist/materialist theorists are directly opposed to postmodernists. There have been decades of bitter ivory tower battles between both factions.
Mind you I have no axe to grind here. I actually feel really sorry for the things the social media mob did to him. Just from watching his videos you can really see how bitter that experience made him in just a few months. The tragic thing is that in that original 2016 incidence, he actually was right! It really is futile to try to fight human tendency to categorize by changing the language for the categories. And there there is abundent evidence for that. (Amusingly the idea of changing reality trough language is actually a conservative one, represented by e.g. Heidegger.)
I had the same conversation trying to explain that in Italian there are "male" things that have "female" names and vice versa.
For example "car" (automobile in Italian) or bulldozer (ruspa in Italian) are feminine nouns.
If you lookup those words in an Italian dictionary you'll find
We don't associate the fact the bulldozer has a feminine name with the notion that women are bulldozers.
At least, I don't!
Instead, you'd do this by showing how Peterson's claim is unsupported by evidence, specifically on how his view pertains to the current topic.
He supported an alternative theory.
But he was already 50 years years old when he published his first essay on HIV, and over 60 when he started the campaign against HIV/AIDS correlation.
And most of his theories have been disproved by following studies, his first publication on the subject is date 1987, Montagnier discovered HIV in 1986 and it was taken for granted as a fact years later.
The best moments of Duesberg career had already gone (like 30 years before).
Montagnier himself late in his life, at the age of 77, gave a speech that basically supported the validity of homeopathy.
I bet it's more an aging related problem than a credibility problem.
BTW Duesberg was wrong on HIV but not on the other topics he studied.
I have no reason of doubting your warnings on Peterson, but it may be possible, as in the Duesberg and Montagnier cases that he might be wrong on something and right on something else.
The point is sex differences exist and are framed in a way that culture or nature have really no meaning anymore.
They are both hard to change and even if we change them in a meaningful way, we can't be sure it will fix what we think needs fixing.
> yet also ensure that girls and women will not avoid mathematics more than boys and men due to mathematics anxiety. Policies must take into consideration that sex differences in career choices are not a simple function of gender equality and equal opportunities; and that, paradoxically, other factors (e.g., sex differences in occupational interests [74–76] and sex differences in other skills [9, 81, 82]) emerge in highly developed, gender-equal countries that might disproportionately affect girls’ mathematics anxiety and participation in STEM.
It doesn't mean of course that one sex is intrinsically better than the other, but the fact that we as individuals have not really existed for thousands of years and our choices in life have always been a cat and mouse game between rules of society and biological instincts, makes the distinction harder to make.
Our DNA tells us what we are biologically, but that's only the bootstrap process, what we become is mostly about the experiences we live and even in the flattest possible ideal society, where every choice is possible, we will all live different experiences and become different individuals.
And we would not see a perfect random distribution of choices, but very clear patterns or clusters, much more clear than they are now.
EDIT: sorry for being verbose.
Another example I can make is universal welfare state in Italy.
It was supposed to help families raise kids with less effort than the previous generations.
The unwanted (I hope) effect has been that it shaped a society of full time men workers and part-time or no-working women.
Because one way or another kids needed to be with their moms more than with their dads, we're talking about 60s in Italy here and a salary or a salary and half were enough. More money meant bigger dreams, moving to the city, in shiny new houses, but away from families that had been the buffer that allowed women to go to work while grandparents took care of kids.
It meant hiring a nanny, but why hire a nanny that costed as much as the woman's salary, when she could stay home, save on money and raise the kids?
This way men monopolized the higher paid jobs and women dominated education and services, because it was more flexible on hours.
It was good nonetheless, my parents couldn't have raised two kids without the free nursery school that the public hospital offered to their employees (having to kids when you work 12 hours night shifts is not really possible without help), but that's how a system created to support natality and to make it possible for women to go to work, have become the disaster of inequalities that it is now.
I was particularly interested in the participant selection section; they did go to an effort to select male and female participants with similar gaming habits. However, this doesn't mean that the only explanation for the different "craving" response is a fundamental difference between men and women. Just because you end up with a similar population with similar habits, doesn't mean that the path those individuals traveled to get there is the same.
As an example of how the observed differences could still be due to nurture rather than nature, suppose that across all young boys and girls, there is a subset of people that are predisposed to addiction. Also suppose that in many cases, an addiction can begin the first time you're exposed to something. Even if both boys and girls were equally predisposed to become addicted to both video games and social media, they would not be equally likely to be exposed to those two addictive digital activities. It would be more likely that a boy's friends would introduce him to video games, and that a girl's friends would introduce her to social media. Once they are addicted to one or the other, they will spend more time on that activity, and will be unlikely to explore the opposite.
Eventually, these hypothetical boys and girls grow up, and our hypothetical scientists select participants for their version of this fMRI experiment. They do a good job selecting male and female participants who play games for similar numbers of hours, but the potential female video game addicts in this universe are much less likely to ever start playing games, before getting addicted to something else. Since these hypothetical people have selected themselves out of this hypothetical study, they discover a difference in fMRI responses to images of video games that's correlated with gender, but still 100% caused by existing gender roles and stereotypes.
Arguably the only ethical way of removing external social conditioning might be to find a regional social setting which lacks that specific element in order to evaluate the statistical impact by comparing results that should be similar between the two environments.
There're tradeoffs, pros and cons to social media and gaming, but framing it in an addiction narrative isn't helping matters. This is what led many Chinese people to put their kids in "camps" that used Electro Convulsive Therapy to "fix their internet addiction". This is born of ignorance, and the addiction narrative.
I think elements can be intuited, and more studies done, but when you're bashing the cheapest forms of entertainment and social contact, and safest to boot, as addictions... that's just ignorant.
You don’t allow your kid to go outside or hang out with friends face to face? You prefer his/her social interactions are all intermediated by a computer network? This seems like a very strange and dystopian preference.
Do you actually have a kid or is this hypothetical?
If you do think that this study proves a genetic difference between how men and women, then one of us is wrong about what an experiment like this can "prove". (I don't think it's quite "correlation != causation", but it's along those lines; I don't have the vocabulary to precisely say why I think that position is wrong.) If that is your position, then maybe this one counterexample will be enough to change your view; it should be, even though that was never my intent. Maybe I've drastically misread your comment and you don't believe anything of the sort. If so, I'm sorry.
What if we asked whether this study "supports" such a difference instead of "proves" it? Would you still say you know it doesn't support it?
The point is that it illustrates the study may not have taken such considerations into account. It calls to question the accuracy and efficacy of their results.
If the target domain is incredibly complex with major fundamental unknowns, then even robust results should not be viewed as 100% definitive.
If the concept is not obvious, the onus is even more on the person bringing it up. Otherwise we'd still have physics running on phlogiston, and medicine on leeches as everyone explored irrelevant ideas.
The problem is that the probability to finding a "gaming" gene, one that only exist or be expressed in males, would be very unlikely.
Robert Sapolsky has a good description of this in his lecture series "Human Behavioral Biology" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&list=PL848F2368C...).
It's tough to make an intuitive story for why RCTs are important, so the story sounds elaborate. You don't need to offer evidence against the theory to say that the methodology is weak.
Anyways, wet streets might cause rain.
If a hypothesis leads you to test for something and collect (dis)confirming evidence, And your argument hinges on the evidence, then we aren’t arguing from ignorance.
A good argument against a study's methodology would probably talk a lot more about the methodology, and a lot less about a believable alternative narrative that is supported by the study. The latter strategy is accepting of the methodology because it is granting that the observed effect is real and deserving of explanation. In a different light, the earlier comment ("As an example of how the observed differences could still be due to nurture rather than nature...") is kind of weird because it is as though the effect might as well be due to nature -- it would present the same way and be as consistent and robust -- even if it were due to socialisation.
And how do you produce a social placebo to detect such effects by comparison? No treatment is not the same as known fake treatment.
In fact, even the observational study here is quite underpowered and not multicultural. It is to be taken with a few bags of salt.
So I think the article is way off base with dismissing the social aspect of games as a major draw for guys. But there are truths to there being significant differences in the way the social networks manifest. My personal hypothesis would be it's related to differences in the "stickiness" of the platforms over which communication primarily occurs now.
But it wasn't a social activity. Just like gaming, it's gaming the majority of the time.
Social activities have parts that are similar to gaming, like when a group of friends ends up playing beer pong.
But it's a social activity, not gaming.
And that's where we make the distinction.
So if the theory is that men just like games themselves, and that the social element is not a big factor in frequent game playing - then better comparison then would be to compare gambling habits between male and females. One study showed that among people with gambling problems, men were more likely to participate in sports betting, poker, and casino games - all games with a high social element and where it's possible to have a network of regulars you befriend and play with (and which in most casinos I've been to, those games have a social environment that is male-dominant). Meanwhile, women gambling addicts were more likely to be use single-player machines (poker/blackjack machines, slots) while gambling , which seems to indicate they are more likely addicted to the games themselves and rush of winning. I could be missing something and maybe women like go out playing with a group of friends and chat while playing - but every time I see people playing video gambling, they usually seem pretty enthralled with their machine.
But then there's also a big difference in the number of women who gamble and rate of addiction to gambling between men and women (with men more likely to play and be addicted in the first place). So again, I'm not disputing that there are differences and that some men are genuinely just obssesed with games themselves - but I do think that the social network factor and "stickiness" factor of that social network is hugely important to understanding why many guys spend such a disproportionate amount of time playing video games vs social media or other social activities, and why it's not necessarily so different from other social activities.
It wasn't just for coordination in-game, just hanging out and talking while sometimes not even playing, because that's what even male friends do: They talk.
It's even more dominant with consoles where since the 360/PS3 era voice has also seen quite high adoption rates even more common than in PC gaming.
Then there's Discord which is very much the millennial version of "hanging out in IRC all day" culture combining text and voice chat.
When I played MMORPGs, which I think we can all agree are pretty popular, very few people had mics. For WoW people would connect to Vent but most didn't have a mic. It was useful for raids, but most of the time communication was via text chat. When playing MapleStory I would sit on Vent with my friends who often played on entirely different servers and no one on that game actually used Vent or TS regularly as part of their daily grind, it was almost exclusively chat.
So, I think the assertion that voice chat is a minority is probably correct. And like you said Discord is beyond a voice chat for gaming. I am in plenty of Discord channels and I have never once entered into a voice chat with anyone. It's a community chat room that happens to offer a voice chat option. Plenty of people use voice chat while gaming, but I don't think it's by and large the majority.
For close to 20 years, as such, it's hardly something new. That's just how communities organized back then: Around clans and servers.
Matchmaking killed a lot of that, but the clan structure helps retain some of it. That's something a whole lot of people, particularly younger ones, participate to this day without ever fully going "pro" because there's a pretty massive middle ground between "absolutely casual gaming" and "sponsored organized pro gaming".
> For console games like COD, most causal games I played few people had mics.
Did you actually play with friends? There's a reason "party chat" features like Xbox Live Party were heavily demanded for many years.
> When I played MMORPGs, which I think we can all agree are pretty popular, very few people had mics. For WoW people would connect to Vent but most didn't have a mic.
That's completely opposite to my experience in vanilla Wow: Organizing and managing 40 man raids without voice chat was pretty much impossible.
Just like daily guild live mostly happened on a voice chat server, where people would hang out even when they were not playing.
> So, I think the assertion that voice chat is a minority is probably correct. And like you said Discord is beyond a voice chat for gaming.
If you define voice chat as solely "voice chat interactions with randoms in public rounds" then maybe yes, but your mileage will vary vastly depending on the platform and genre.
Discord also isn't "beyond a voice chat for gaming", it's pretty much just the modern manifestation of server centered communities like they used to be a thing with CS game servers and still are a thing to this day with "Clan TS2 servers", Discord is just a natural evolution of those where people don't have to pay rent/bandwidth for a server.
CS is not new, but it's one game. And even within this one game, many people do not have mics. Most people don't play exclusively with pre-mades they play pugs. Either via MM or Faceit (and to a lesser extent these days, ESEA). If you pug you'll find most people don't use mics at all.
> Matchmaking killed a lot of that, but the clan structure helps retain some of it. That's something a whole lot of people, particularly younger ones, participate to this day without ever fully going "pro" because there's a pretty massive middle ground between "absolutely casual gaming" and "sponsored organized pro gaming".
Most people don't play in clans or pre-mades like I said before. Yes, the move visible players do use voice chat, and at the highest levels it's uncommon for people to not use it. But a bulk of players in CS do not fall into these categories whatsoever. The average ranking is Gold Nova-ish which is far from the top end of the player base.
> Did you actually play with friends? There's a reason "party chat" features like Xbox Live Party were heavily demanded for many years.
Yes, I played in a clan starting in MW2 - BO2 or MW3 (I forget which came out last) and plenty of my clan members didn't have mics during clan events, let alone just playing random games. This was on Playstation Network, so maybe Xbox players used this way more, I can't speak to that.
> That's completely opposite to my experience in vanilla Wow: Organizing and managing 40 man raids without voice chat was pretty much impossible.
I guess this depends on how dedicated your groups were. We had 40 people in voice chat, but really only the party leaders regularly had mics in Vent or TS. This was enough to organize and successfully raid. But I guess YMMV here. All other MMOs I've played voice chat was essentially non-existent and you chatted with random people more often anyways since you didn't need pre-made parties or your guild to do most of the events. Using MapleStory (since I played the shit out of that) Party Quests were almost always just randoms in channel 1 not your friends. This echos the experiences I had playing Eve and Rift when that came out.
> Discord also isn't "beyond a voice chat for gaming", it's pretty much just the modern manifestation of server centered communities like they used to be a thing with CS game servers and still are a thing to this day with "Clan TS2 servers", Discord is just a natural evolution of those where people don't have to pay rent/bandwidth for a server.
Discord isn't used exclusively for in game chat in my experience. I'm part of plenty of communities on discord that have nothing to do with gaming, and even the gaming communities don't focus around chatting while gaming. They are usually to keep up with whatever the community is focused on, be it a streamers Discord or whatever. I'm not saying that Discord isn't used similar to TS or Ventrilo but it's beyond what those services did, and they aren't dedicated to just voice chatting with your group. It's a far more versatile service.
I'm sure it exists in newer games, but I have no idea where I'd find it in most of the games I've played from the past decade.
As someone who has been drunk on testosterone most of their life, I can testify it is a powerful and fun drug. Perhaps if research was framed in terms of hormonal differences rather than sex differences it wouldn't be as intrinsically controversial.
Does culture play a role in behavior? Probably. But is there an inherent difference between the sexes? Yes.
Plenty of biologists see what happens, and toe the line so they can keep their lives and pay their mortgages.
This is similar to the claims that "race" predicts health issues, when actually it's usually some specific gene which is only correlated with race.
I don't see how it helps to introduce that extra layer of indirection.
it is controversial only if you assume that
- we can control sex differences more than hormonal differences (in fact it's quite the opposite)
- cultural differences are more controllable than biological differences (same as above)
it doesn't matter how you frame it, the study shows a clear tendency, we can discuss the implications or the correctness of the study, methodology and title
For the first a functioning brain it's enough, for the rest we are subject to burden of the proof.
I've encountered the situation many times where I'll find out one of my female friends doesn't play video games. I'll ask why, and—disregarding the people who just don't like to spend time cooped up indoors—it'll usually end out that she's just never been introduced to a game she's enjoyed. Upon introducing her to a game or two in the genres more traditionally targeted at women, she'll be just about as likely as any of my male friends to gradually evolve from there into an avid gamer: one for whom "gaming" is now counted among their serious hobbies; one who might be excited to dedicate a weekend to full "hardcore" engagement with a new game.
In other words, for these ladies, it was 100% a market education problem: the companies making these products weren't managing to make their target audience aware of them.
Some people play games; but some other people are only addicted to spending money on slot machines. The kind of mobile "game" you see Super Bowl ads (or, really, any TV ads) for are almost exclusively actually just slot machines at their core, with any game mechanics being tacked-on afterthoughts.
(If you wouldn't let your own children play a given "game", and your intuitive reasoning is the same as why you wouldn't let them wander freely in a casino—then you probably should mark such titles down under the "casino" tally, not the "games" tally, no?)
Importantly, the audiences for these two types of... experiences, let's call them—are mostly non-overlapping sets of people. Plenty of people are addicted to these slot-machine apps but would never play an actual "game", no matter how casual it was. They're not in it for game-mechanical "fun"; they're in it for variable-scheduled dopaminergic rewards. And, vice-versa, the more of an experienced "gamer" someone is—the more actual games they've played (where even FarmVille with all its dark patterns is still a game)—the more they'll have a taste for actual fun brought about by game mechanics, and so the more clearly they can intuitively feel that these slot-machine apps aren't providing such "fun."
Once you take these slot-machine non-games and their mostly non-gamer audiences out of consideration, then things do line up the way I described: there are no game companies targeting women bothering to spend much on advertising.
(There are, however, plenty of games without gendered targeting that have AAA ad spend. Pokemon, for example.)
You can add time pressure; things that only appear once you've found other things; hybridize the mechanics with those of other genres, like adventure-game-like puzzle minigames to combine or use objects; etc.
In some sense, any game where progression is gated by a threshold of gathered collectables—and where the hard part is detecting the collectable, not navigating to or otherwise retrieving the collectable—is a hidden-object game. Pokemon Snap is a hidden-object game—the objects are shot compositions. The Ace Attorney games are hidden-object games—the objects are literal evidence, but then during the trials they're evidence+opportunity pairings. "Hacking" games, where you detect vulnerabilities to exploit, are hidden-object games. Trade-war or Elite type games (i.e. inefficient-market exploitation simulators) are, on an abstract level, hidden-object games. :)
And, of course, games in other genres can employ hidden-object mechanics, too. Platform games have special coins in out-of-the-way locations, where the challenge is just inferring that that was a visitable place to begin with. RPGs have treasure that shows up as little often-hard-to-spot motes of light on the field rather than big obvious chests. Etc.
Also, IMO, Puzzle Environment is (hopefully) non-gendered, but I've never seen stats for it.
I saw an interesting video last year where they used toddlers young enough to have no visible gender and they got in babysitters to help the toddlers play with toys. They gave the toddlers random gendered names and clothes. They then asked the babysitters what they think the kids's favorite toys were.
In almost every test the babysitter handed the kids the toys associated with the gender they thought the kid was from the name and not what the kids actual gender was. They then went to comment that the perceived genders toys were the kids favorite.
They only had a stronger preference because the boys didn't play with the cuddly toys as much.
A subtle but important distinction.
This is similar to studies that show women's favourite colour is actually blue. But what gets reported is that they have a stronger preference for pink, because, compared with men, more chose that and that somehow gets into the consciousness as "girls prefer pink over blue".
Okay, so either men liking guns, heavy machinery, and videogames more than women comes from a inherent, biological difference between men and women, or it all comes from a huge, complex social construct that has been cultivated and dominant for centuries. Which one is it, then?
A lot of little boys are hyper as fuck, and I don't think that's a social construct. I think that's just how little boy bodies tend to produce energy: in excess.
Also, a good description for most games might be "twitchy." I think these two line up.
But in answer to your question, Nature vs Nurture: the answer is always both, but far more nature than we'd like. When we hit the cyborg/embedded computers line, that's when I think it'll be 50/50.
This is also not an American style documentary where things are taken out of context or efforts made to entrap researchers or anything like that. It's just regular interviews on both sides of the argument alongside giving each side the opportunity to express themselves as well as their views on research that tends to run contrary to their own personal views. But all in all this ultimately serves to greatly emphasize how tenuous the appeals to a social construct are when contrasted against the other option.
It goes without saying, but all episodes are of course also subtitled in English.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hjernevask
Because we're well past assumptions and have significant amounts of hard evidence that point towards relevant structural differences in the brain along gendered lines and behavioral differences that manifest at the earliest ages.
With the home console revival and growth of PCs, games were marketed primarily towards young men as the default demographic. There's also the fact that what's considered for men vs women can vary drastically depending on whether we're talking about the US, Korea, Japan etc.
Those are ones I can name without Googling from games before 2000. If you think there haven't been female playable characters in video games, you weren't paying attention.
You mean Tanya? Cha-ching!
It still seems to be mostly marketed at boys.
Looking at the itunes store page, first item is a video with running, shooting, fighting, racing cars and burning armors. Second photo a mosaic, third fighting armors, fourth a robotic cowboy, fifth ninja like armors.
Both genders might enjoy, but wouldn’t there be more content and more optimization towards boys play style ?
These studies don’t claim to say anything deeper about either gender's innate predisposition towards certain behaviours, only that the populations they studied behave in particular ways.
The data should be used to focus efforts in things like, for example, preventing online gaming addiction or preventing feelings of inadequacy from using social media, but I think it's folly to extrapolate the findings to make any larger scale statements on society at large.
Females compete for social status more on social media, and thus social gains and losses occur on their mobile phone. As a result it look like social media cause females to become aggressive (with the cultural methods of aggressiveness that is appropriate in a given society).
With this perspective we get the exact behavior that the article highlight with no difference in brains. Same brain pathways, same biological reaction, just two different social status competitions (females vs females, males vs males) and two different cultural accepted behaviors when it comes to defending social status.
Looking at humans it obvious also that there is a strong cultural aspect to it. In one culture the apex male attribute to reach the top of the social status ladder would be to go into the jungle and kill a lion with nothing but a spear. In an other it is to have the title of CEO and have a high number listed in a bank account. Both is about a social status hierarchy, but with very different method for competition.
Going back to the article, a man gains social status if he display superiority over other males in a video game. Why? Video games represent physical games which represent competition of strength and skills. We can imagine a culture where that would not gain any social status and then any association with aggressiveness would go away. No brain surgery required.
These are very similar from a behavioral perspective because they both involve aggression and risk-seeking.
What takes more risk: having large amounts of capital accumulate wealth over time due or switching between multiple jobs, working longer hours, and being more stressed as you try to keep your family alive?
My attempts at team sports when young were full of experiences of being insufficent and bullying or ostracism by the more athletic team members. So I didn't ask to go back and didn't join them later on for school teams, and had minimal interest in even observing them. Learning the rulesets was fine, I can follow an american football game, but I can't bring myself to actually care about teams or players or the league itself.
When people gain social status they produce more hormones which regulates how much effort is spent on defending social status. When a person win in a competition like sport their hormone rises. The interesting part is that for sport fans, their bodies also react just as they have gain status. The body mimic what it perceive as an extension of itself.
This explain a finding that in sport riots it is usually the winning side that "starts" the fight, through a more fair description is that the winning side reacts more extremely when they perceive to be challenged.
So sure, if you're not skilled or naturally gifted in sports, there are other paths for you to achieve excellence. And that's perfectly fine.
Truth is, the vast majority of the people bullying you eventually dropped out of sports as they tried to climb the hierarchy themselves, whether in high school, college, or later. Society can only have so many pro sports players and so it goes. At least you got a head start on finding yourself and alignment with your interests and better talents.
In a way I used the sports team as a kind of social media.
Historically, pregnant women and women with small children faced much more difficulty capturing and maintaining adequate resources on their own. Predation, lower upper-body strength, releasing a scent for one week per month, not to mention the metabolic and time constraints created by nursing and mothering small children in general, all created huge, difficult barriers to survival for women.
Historically, men were able to gather more resources from the environment than they needed (primarily through hunting, but later through farming), so they could share their resources with the women and children. However, men didn't want to share their resources with the genetic offspring of other men, so they wanted monogamy in return for support.
At a high level, men gathered resources from their environment, and shared them in exchange for monogamy and adequate care for their offspring, and women, historically, gathered resources from relationships (with both men, for food, shelter, and protection, and from women for child care and protection).
This is the main cause for differentiation between men and women. Because of this division of capabilities, the brains of men and women began to differentiate and evolve because they faced different challenges in their environment.
Men needed to be able to hunt, to work, to go without food for longer periods of time, and to work as a group to hunt large game. Testosterone helps all of those activities. Those who were more successful at these activities had more progeny that survived.
Women needed to be able to successfully raise children, gather local food, process furs, and cook food.
Men would all go hunting together in groups to reduce/eliminate opportunities for philandering, and women would stay in groups to protect each other and to help care for each other's young.
This all got flipped around and mixed up by the industrial revolution, the world wars, antibiotics, vaccines, and birth control. IMO, this is the battleground of the current culture war, because for most of human history, resources were scarce and infant mortality was high. These arrangements have been in place for hundreds of thousands of years.
The recent change in access (and abundance) to resources I listed above (among many others) has fundamentally changed access to resources. As an illustration, the most pressing problem facing the poor class in America is obesity. This is unprecedented, and no one has a good guide for how to move forward.
These characteristics would have predated humans. Maybe pull the terminology back to male and female hominids in the future?
Also, at least some of the preference males have for videogames over females is that a majority are designed & marketed with a male audience in mind.
People love to think this way, but study after study suggests that those preferences are at least partly biological. It's one of those cases where there is a disconnect between the scientific understanding and the beliefs of the general public (including policymakers).
See for example this research work: https://www.math.kth.se/matstat/gru/5b1501/F/sex.pdf:
"Results showed that the male infants showed a stronger interest in the physical-mechanical mobile while the female infants showed a stronger interest in the face. The results of this research clearly demonstrate that sex differences are in part biological in origin."
I think puberty might have more of a splitting effect on the human mind than anyone is saying.
Also, food for thought, humanity as a whole is probably still way too primitive to have a greater nurture than nature ratio. If you look back, primitive people appear to be more nature than people now. Looking forwards, it's probably going to continue. Therefor, we must be somewhere in between, and I get the feeling we're still pretty green.
I can vaguely justify it for games - early programmers were men (for reasons) and they made games so early gamers were also men... if game companies picked up on that, the advertising could propagate that initial imbalance until present day.
What about social media? It only became popular in the past few years, seemingly out of nowhere... Maybe it was just filling a void (boys were playing games, girls had nothing to do so they spent time on social media) but this seems a bit forced argument...
What we do and experience in our life shapes our brain. So anything that says "brain differences" without further detail is at best pop neurology.
I'm female and I like playing city building games and puzzle games, like Tetris or match three games. My sons have introduced me to games like Master of Magic by saying "It's like your favorite: SimCity" and then helping me relate to it as a civilization building game, downplaying the fighty aspects.
Longer version of that anecdote here:
I think my point is that gendered expectations can be overcome to some degree, especially if you have allies who aren't invested in keeping you stuck in a particular role. Generally speaking, men who were romantically interested in me have failed to be that kind of ally.
Not how I wanted it, mind you.
If you have a link to another source, it's ok to post that in the comments.
Also, going on about getting downvoted breaks the site guidelines. If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting here, we'd be grateful.
Well, either way, hopefully the mods will come by and recognize the legimitimacy of the post.
But yeah, thanks for reminding.
However, we know that the mods have already seen this article since the link was changed from the archive to the paywall URL. In addition, I believe they've said in the past that they want to discourage particularly controversial stories. And biology studies like this are unfortunately controversial to the general public these days.
...but this site is not catering to the general public but to self-proclaimed hackers, a species which used to pride itself on intellectual curiosity. I should know, being one of them and being as curious as I manage to find the time for. Knee-jerk flagging is definitely not something which goes together with this definition. This flagging response is akin to a politicised version of the 'Window$IsB0ll0cks/Leenucks-suckz' type of discourse found among juvenile 'script kiddies'.
Some people just want an emotionally calm place to discuss ongoing industry trends they have to keep up with, a superior Reddit with more serious chat. Which group will come to define the character of this place?
In an emotionally calm place nothing of substance can be discussed as emotions tend to rise and fall with the importance of the subject matter. Whether it is vi vs Emacs (which is totally subjective), Linux vs Windows (which is a bit of everything), Free Software vs Open Source (which leans towards politics), Bare metal vs virtualisation (which is purely technical) or a discussion on the differences between men and women (which is biology), some hackles will be raised somewhere.
And yes, this being _Hacker news_ I do feel (which is an emotion) this place _should_ allow open and honest discussion of subjects like these. The mere fact that someone disagrees with you does not make that opinion any less valid or valuable. Where there is a diversity of opinions there _will_ be disagreement, and that is actually a good thing as there is not much less conducing to intellectual discourse than an echo chamber where everybody either agrees or keeps quiet.
Exactly this. And it's fascinating and educational to observe. I wouldn't recommend to intervene though, just make an observation and move on.
I can kinda understand it though. While research like this might be correct and is definitely important, it can make it sound like "all men" or "all women" think this way, to some extent, making those who are different feel invalid. (Maybe a bit of a personal topic but I'm currently thinking a lot about my gender and identity and stuff like this is kinda making me scared.)
Additionally, to some this might make it seem like it's not worth welcoming diversity in tech. (Which is also not true IMO.)
It doesn’t even suggest that. It just suggests that, no matter how many initiatives you put into place, you’re never going to be able to achieve demographic “purity”.
I didn't flag this one, because the comments haven't derailed yet.