Do casual gaming environments evoke stereotype threat? Examining the effects of explicit priming and avatar gender

Linda Kaye, Charlotte Pennington, Joseph MacCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Despite relatively equal participation rates between females and males in casual gaming, females often report stigmatisation and prejudice towards their gaming competency within this sub-domain. Applying the theoretical framework of “stereotype threat”, this research examined the influence of explicit stereotype priming on females’ casual gameplay performance and related attitudes. It also investigated whether the gender of the game avatar heightens susceptibility to stereotype threat. One hundred and twenty females were allocated randomly to one of four experimental conditions in a 2 (Condition: Stereotype threat, Control) x 2 (Avatar gender: Feminine, Masculine) between-subjects design. They completed a short gaming task and measures of social identity, competence beliefs, gameplay self-efficacy and self-esteem. Findings indicate that priming explicitly a negative gender-related stereotype did not appear to have a significant detrimental impact on gameplay performance or gameplay-related attitudes. Additionally, gameplay performance was not affected significantly by manipulating the gender of the gaming avatar. These findings suggest that, although females appear to be knowledgeable about negative gender-gaming stereotypes, these might not impact performance. Moreover, females tend not to endorse these beliefs as a true reflection of their gaming ability, representing a positive finding in view of the prevailing negative attitudes they face in gaming domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-150
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date25 Sept 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2017


  • Stereotype threat
  • digital gaming
  • competence
  • self-concept
  • gender
  • avatars


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