Uncovering the Meaning: Exploring Semantic Differences in US Perceptions of “Gamer” and Game Players

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6 Scopus citations


Gaming is an increasingly acceptable outlet for recreation, social engagement, and professional practice. Despite this acceptance, perceptions of “gamers” have been slower to evolve. The traditional stereotype associated with the “gamer” label has persisted in popular culture and acts to perpetuate and reinforce the negative elements associated with gaming. The stereotype’s persistence begs the question of whether current gamers see themselves as having stereotypical traits and whether non-gamers would attribute these traits to game players. This study uses an established model of social perception to explore differences in perceptions of the gamer stereotype and game players among both self-identified gamers and non-gamers in the United States. The results show differences in perceptions between the stereotype and game players, reflecting persistence of the stereotype and recognition that it is not universally applicable to players themselves. Self-identified gamers also perceived themselves as exhibiting more positive and less stereotypical traits than “gamer” implies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-931
Number of pages25
JournalGames and Culture
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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