The Virtual Self and Possible Immersive Consequences of Uncharacteristic Self-Presentation in the Virtual Environment

The Virtual Self and Possible Immersive Consequences of Uncharacteristic Self-Presentation in the Virtual Environment

Eugene Y. Kukshinov (Independent Researcher, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2015100106
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The author employs a theoretic construct based on self-presentation approach and a self-concept which is taken as a complex structure of self-schema and possible selves. Within the framework of this model (or “self-matrix”), self-presentation is observed under the conditions of virtual reality, in which the usual ties between various aspects of one's self may be lost, producing uncharacteristic performance. The author claims that immersive interaction within the simulated environment of virtual reality may be experienced to such an extent that new properties of the self are obtained, bringing a change in real behavior. The resultant performance might contradict existing social circumstances and vice versa.
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The “Self-Matrix”

In order to properly define the place of the virtual self within the wider field of the self-concept, I found it necessary to combine several different theories of the self into a “self-matrix”. As a preliminary, I use Goffman’s (1956) self-presentation approach, selectively marking out the dualistic understanding of self, divided into “real” and “social” selves. The real self is supposed to be that which cannot be seen by others, “since no one is in quite as good an observational position to see through the act as the person who puts it on” (p.10). The social self is the product of performance or presentation in everyday life; it is an inseparable part of the social environment. It is likely that the two could never be similar to each other yet, despite the fact that many different social roles can be played, there is usually a nominal distance between them. Our properties or aspects of self are sufficiently connected to protect self-presentation from dramatic modification.

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