In a study The Economist is calling “nurture strikes back,” a videogame—Medal of Honour: Pacific Assault, a first-person shooter—has helped improved a set of women’s ability to perform in spatial awareness tests, even months after the test was conducted.
As a control, other volunteers were asked to play a decidedly non-action-packed puzzle game, called “Ballance”, for a similar time. Both sets were then asked to do the odd-man-out test again.
Among the Ballancers, there was no change in the ability to pick out the unusual. Among those who had played “Medal of Honour”, both sexes improved their performances.
That is not surprising, given the different natures of the games. However, the improvement in the women was greater than the improvement in the men–so much so that there was no longer a significant difference between the two. Moreover, that absence of difference was long-lived. When the volunteers were tested again after five months, both the improvement and the lack of difference between the sexes remained.
Clearly this means that more women should be playing first person shooters with me. It is about Halo 3 season. Who wants to join my all-women team? (I, as the sole male, will stay on board as the control subject. It’s for science.)
Psychology and the sexes [Economist]