[MUD-Dev] Re: Male and female brains

Robin Cloutman rycochet at rycochet.demon.co.uk
Wed May 7 10:07:08 CEST 2003

On Monday, 05/05/2003, Valerio wrote:
> Koster, Raph wrote:

>> There's an article to be found here:

>>   http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,937913,00.html

>> discussing how male and female brains tend to have different
>> attributes on average--more males tend to have "systematizing
>> brains" and more females tend to have "empathizing brains." Along
>> with the article, there's a couple of tests to assess the
>> "systematizing quotient" and the "empathizing quotient" of your
>> brain.

> That's a very interesting article, especially if we look at it the
> way it's been written by the author, thinking about people
> affected by autism. Very interesting indeed. I'm going to show
> this to friends of mine working as educators.

I did find the part about baby girls quite amusing - where it was
saying that girls from birth tend to look longer at a face... I've
got a 4 month old daughter, and she's been fascinated by hairlines
since birth... Don't ask me why, she'll look at your face for a few
seconds, then the eyes will drift up and she'll start
grinning... ;-P

>> I personally scored as a "type B" brain, meaning that I had a
>> balanced quotient--fairly high in both, actually (52 and 43).

> I'm a B too, by a few pixels.. a few pixels from being an S brain
> (36 EQ, 39 SQ).

Naturally enough I found it funny that my 19 EQ and 53 SQ showed I
probably had auspergers (which I in fact do), so I'm an S type.

I'd like to take this one step further - what do people with any of
the autism range (most likely auspergers) actually do in MUDs and
other RPGs?

>> Now, as it happens, I've also been playing a socializer-heavy
>> online world recently, one with no combat abilities. And I am
>> playing a female avatar in this world, something which has been
>> my habit for years now.  Almost all the friends I have made there
>> are female. As is fairly typical, I've been sexually harassed
>> already, fairly crudely, and when there is misbehavior in the
>> game, it's generally assumed that the perpetrator is a younger
>> male.

> I think that my type is not very much influenced by what I've been
> playing lately. Really, it seems more like a test where I would
> have scored the same result even if I had taken it years ago.
> Current habit surely have some influence but I doubt it's going to
> be very strong. Most of the questions I answered to were toward
> aspects of my own character that have not changed in years. We can
> maybe say that since I've been involved in games since I was a kid
> the kind of games I always liked to play has influenced me towards
> being the way I am now.

I only tend to join one MUD now, and when I do go on it I spend 95%
of my time talking to other people... Strangely it's a PK MUD. I
think I tended to join PK MUDs because there was less expectation
for you to RP, but now I've been playing on that MUD (and it's
predecessor) for so many years, I feel comfortable enough just
chatting, that there is no pressure on me to go around killing other

>> I wonder:

>>   -- would we find a correlation between type E or B brains in
>>   males and their preference for female avatars?

> I'm a type B but I don't like playing female avatars. I think I
> only played a female avatar once in a game where I could choose
> the gender, and never in online games. Probably E brains are more
> likely to be playing female characters.

I only ever play female characters in single player games when
there's a distinct advantage to it, ie. in ADOM there is a frog
quest, which only females get - however I rarely do this.

For online games I always play myself, if there is no way to
customise the character's looks then I try for the clothing, and
after that I always try for one of two names, both of which I
identify as "me".

Of the various female characters I've met - those that have wanted
to chat have all appeared to be genuine women, though if someone
wanted to pretend then I'm not the best one to pick up on
clues. There have been a number of female characters I've met who
have turned out to be men, and generally they're the type of
character who doesn't tend to socialise as much. However the type of
game I tend to play makes sex not as important as in some (with a
change-sex spell it can become quite academic).

>>   -- would we find a correlation between typical behavior
>>   patterns in online worlds and brain type?  -- say, Nick Yee's
>>   facets study?  http://www.nickyee.com/facets/home.html -- or
>>   the Bartle Quotient?

> Yes, that's very likely to be. And looking at the graphs on Nick's
> site it seems that males are good achievers and griefers while
> females are best at relationships.  Looking outside the online
> games world, many female players that own a PC or a PS2 (or the
> one of their boyfriend) are more likely to play games like The
> Sims or classic adventures (alla LucasArts) or social games like
> board games ported to PC.  That's my experience in the field. This
> does not mean that my girlfriend does not like to beat me at Soul
> Calibur 2 :)

I'm an Explorer, though if I'm tense or stressed I tend to become
more of an Achiever. From the descriptions given of Auspergers (
http://www.nas.co.uk has a good info page) I think that's what most
people with Auspergers would say - any comments?

I also found that I *very* quickly moved from wanting to play MUDs,
to wanting to code for them, but without losing the enjoyment I
gained through playing, even when I knew the exact code used to
produce a certain effect ;-)

My wife has no interest in MUDs or other such games (she doesn't get
on with computers that well) however she loves playing Hugo 2 on my
ps1. Not a game which I have any real fondness for ;-)

>>   -- would we find, I wonder, in research, that male brains tend
>>   to shift from S brains to B brains as they age? There's
>>   evidence for this shift in playstyles among male players,
>>   according to Nick Yee.

> This really would need some more research on the
> subject. According to Nick I would agree with you, but I don't
> know if there's any clinical reason for such a shift.

As a corollary - do people with autism also change, and if so how?

In my personal experience I've become better at dealing with people
(with an EQ of 19!) as I've had more experience dealing with them -
but it takes mental "oomph" instead of being instinctive.

I feel that people will probably become better at reading other
people over time, as they gain more experience at it, so if the
shift is in the EQ getting higher, rather than the SQ getting lower,
could the amount of socialising have a part to play, be it at work,
rest, or play.

>>   -- would we find that designers in general, and perhaps of
>>   online worlds in particular, tend to have B brains?

> I am not a professional designer but I do it as an hobby and I'm
> B.. let's see the others :)

I am not a great designer unless it comes to layout of various parts
(collage is ok, line drawing isn't), but I tend to focus too much on
getting something "perfect" to think I'm any good at it. So as an S
I tend to find the structure of design easier than the ability to
provoke some sort of emotional response.

If we have any other people with Auspergers on this list, do I come
close to their own experiences, or have they taken different paths
to get where they are now? And even those without Auspergers, it
would be interesting to see how you feel each of these sections
relates to you.

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