Applying the multi-threat framework of stereotype threat in the context of digital gaming
Females often report experiencing stigmatisation pertaining to their competency in digital gaming communities. Employing the principles of the multi-threat framework of stereotype threat, the current research examined the impact of gender-related stereotypes on females’ gaming performance and related self-perceptions. In Experiment 1, 90 females were assigned to one of three conditions in which they were primed that their performance would be either diagnostic of their personal (self-as-target) or gender group’s ability (group-as-target) or would be non-diagnostic of gaming ability (control). In Experiment 2, 90 females were primed that their performance would be judged by a group of other females (in-group source) or males (out-group source), or would be non-diagnostic of ability (control). Participants then completed a casual gaming task, as well as measures of competence beliefs, self-efficacy and self-esteem. Findings from Experiment 1 indicate that neither a self-as-target nor a group-as-target stereotype affected significantly gaming performance, or game-related self-efficacy, self-esteem and competency beliefs. Findings from Experiment 2 reveal further that females’ gaming performance and associated self-perceptions were not impacted significantly by an in-group or out-group source of stereotype threat. The discussion turns to potential explanations for these findings, proposing that females may not perceive negative gender-gaming stereotypes to be an accurate representation of their personal or social group’s gaming ability. We also discuss the implications of the experimental design and difficulty, as well as the potential for domain identification to moderate performance outcomes under stereotype threat.