Men who harass women online are literally losers, science says

men who lose games more likely to harass women halo 5 guardians multiplayer beta empire homeland defense
We’ve all been placated by the same stories about bullies — it’s not you, it’s them with the problem. And now, we have science to back it up. According to a recent study on the landscape of cyberbullying and online abuse, men who target women for misogynistic, sexist, and otherwise horrific comments and threats are losers, literally. In their research, scientists found that men who were bad at video and computer games were far more likely to create hostile environments for female players. Terrified of the age-old insult of “losing to a girl,” these less-adept players expressed their anger by becoming monstrous bullies, subjecting female players to nasty remarks and insults.

In conducting their experiment, study authors Michael Kasumovic and Jeff Kuznekoff observed 163 sessions of Halo 3 and noted how men behaved towards one another and towards women. They found that regardless of outcome, by and large men behaved civilly to one another. More skilled players, or those who were performing well at the time, even went so far as to compliment their fellow players — male or female. But when it came to male players who met with less success, they became rude and abusive towards (here’s the kicker) female players and female players only.

“We show that lower-skilled players were more hostile towards a female-voiced teammate, especially when performing poorly,” the study states. “In contrast, lower-skilled players behaved submissively towards a male-voiced player in the identical scenario. This difference in gender-directed behavior became more extreme with poorer focal-player performance.” Talk about an inferiority complex.

As the author’s noted in an explanatory piece in The Conversation, male players “behaved according to a social hierarchy. When they were performing poorly – i.e., they were lower status – they did not challenge a male-voiced teammate, but they did challenge a female-voiced one.”

And in another interesting corollary, while highly-skilled male players tended to be more polite and more positive in their behavior towards women, their attitude towards other men remained the same.

So why the extreme negativity towards women, but not other men when it comes to the losers of the game? Researchers surmise that the desire for the maintenance of a male-dominated space, coupled with the fear of being emasculated not only by losing, but worse yet, but losing to a woman, makes men behave particularly aggressively and unkindly. Ultimately, the authors say, gamers (especially bad gamers), may be trying to maintain some strange status quo. “One way to ensure that a man doesn’t lose to a woman,” they wrote, “Is to keep women from competing by making them feel unwanted in that environment.”

While we may applaud the more skilled gamers for their chivalry and politeness, Kasumovic and Kuznekoff wonder if their general niceness stems from a place of condescension rather than legitimate kindness. After all, if women became the top dogs in the game, would everyone suddenly turn hostile? While no definitive conclusions have yet to be drawn, the research for such a project (involving playing and watching a whole lot of video games) will most likely draw a willing crowd of participants.


The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for November 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Got an NES Classic? Here’s how to hack it to play more than 700 games

The NES Classic is terrific for what it is, but Nintendo's discontinued device remains limited in what it can play. Here's how to hack your miniature console and render it compatible with more than 700 games.

‘Fallout 76’ day one patch is 52 GB, bigger than the 45 GB game

Fallout 76 is a 45 GB download, but its day one patch is even bigger at a hefty 52 GB. The contents of the patch remain unknown, but it will likely incorporate feedback from the game's beta testers.

Fired Treyarch tester spills ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies’ secrets

A former Treyarch employee revealed numerous Call of Duty: Blacks Ops 4 Zombies secrets. Among the unraveled mysteries were the Viking Boat puzzle in IX and the purpose of the Engine Room valves in Voyage of Despair.

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.

Sony could be working on a screen-equipped PlayStation controller

A patent recently granted to Sony seems to point to the company creating a controller with a touchscreen. The patent was filed in 2017 and granted in October 2018, which could mean it is planned for the next PlayStation.

Xbox gaming chief has sights set on improving Microsoft Store experience

Xbox chief Phil Spencer acknowledged that the Microsoft Store still has a ways to go to become a solid platform for PC gamers. Microsoft promised to work toward improving the frequently buggy experience with gamers in mind.

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.

Everyone’s favorite Pokémon turns gumshoe in ‘Detective Pikachu’ trailer

The first Detective Pikachu trailer has arrived, and it looks like a video game movie could actually be good? Voiced by Ryan Reynolds, Pikachu is undeniably cute in what is shaping up to be a family-friendly buddy comedy.

Here are the best Black Friday deals you can get for Xbox One, PS4, and Switch

If you're in the market for a new video game console, there's no better time to pick one up than Black Friday. These are the best video game console deals for Black Friday 2018, including PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.