Playing video games help girls to obtain STEM degrees, claims new study

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A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Surrey has found that girls who actively participate in video games are more likely to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees.

The study report published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour revealed that girls between the ages of 13 and 14, identified as heavy gamers are three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree in the future when compared to girls who did not play video games at all. As per experts, heavy gamers are often defined as people who play video games for more than nine hours a week.

The research led by Anesa Hosein at the University of Surrey looked at the survey results from 481 females and 333 males. However, playing video games did not elevate the affinity of male participants toward STEM degrees.

"Despite the pioneering work of people like Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Surrey's own Daphne Jackson, the first female Physics professor, there are still too few female STEM role models for young women. However, our research shows that those who study STEM subjects at degree level are more likely to be gamers, so we need to encourage the girl gamers of today to become the engineering and physics students and pioneers of tomorrow," said Anesa Hosein in a recent statement.

It should be also noted that female gamers were more likely to pursue a STEM degree regardless of which game genre they play--action, MMORPG, puzzle, or platform. All the video games had the same impact on the female gamers as most of them ended up in choosing STEM degrees, and they were least likely to give up the gaming habit in the future.

"It, therefore, makes sense, in the short-term, that educators seeking to encourage more take up of STEM subjects should target girl gamers, as they already may have a natural interest in these subjects. We need to get better at identifying cues early to recognize which girls may be more interested in taking up STEM degrees," added Hosein.

A few months back, researchers at the King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the University of Roehampton had found that playing certain video games will help patients with schizophrenia to control verbal hallucinations. During the study, researchers found that playing certain computer games helps to tune down external voices which will result in verbal hallucinations.