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Men are better than women at identifying with characters of the opposite sex on screen, a study has found.

They can think themselves into a character regardless of gender, while women have a harder time identifying with men.

British researcher Nathan Hook, a part-time PhD student at the University of Tampere in Finland, asked 400 people to play a Star Wars game as both male and female Jedi and Sith characters and rate how well they identified with them.

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On a scale with a maximum of seven points, men identified with female Jedi character only 0.05 points lower than the male, and for the Sith they actually identified with the female more than the male, by 0.12 points.

Women reported much larger gaps of 0.67 points and 0.26 points between the sexes, identifying far more with females.

Mr Hook, who works for Ofsted and lives in Bristol, suggests one reason is that women see themselves as part of a shared group more than men.

‘The practical implication from this surprise finding may be that a female protagonist would increase the enjoyment of a female audience and not lessen the enjoyment of a male audience,’ he added.

His study is being presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Nottingham this week.

© Daily Mail