Geek or Chic? Emerging Stereotypes of Online Gamers
The present study sought to examine the extent to which the cultural portrayal of online gamers, often in comical, caricatured, or sensational forms, has become transformed into sets of cognitive associations between the category and traits. A total of 342 participants completed an online survey in which they rated how applicable each of a list of traits was to the group of online gamers. Ratings were made for both personal beliefs (how participants themselves see gamers) and stereotypical beliefs (how most others see gamers). While these beliefs were highly consensual as stereotypes, personal beliefs varied, suggesting that the cultural portrayal of online gamers is beginning to shift into cognitive associations. The role of stereotypes in negotiating a group’s social position are discussed arguing that these stereotypes currently position online gamers as low in social status and socially peripheral. The function of the media in generating stereotypical representations of social groups and convincing the public of their validity is also discussed.