Visual Analyses of the Creation of Avatars

Visual Analyses of the Creation of Avatars

Erik W. Black, Richard E. Ferdig, Joseph C. DiPietro, Feng Liu, Baird Whalen
DOI: 10.4018/jgcms.2009010106
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Video games are becoming more popular; there has been a particular rise in interest and use of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). These games utilize avatar creation; avatars can be seen as the technological instantiation of the real person in the virtual world. Little research has been conducted on avatar creation. Although it is has been anecdotally postulated that you can be anything you want online, there is a dearth of research on what happens when participants are told to create avatars, particularly avatars within given contexts. In this study, we used the Second Life avatar creation tool to examine what would happen when participants were told to create avatars as heroes, villains, their ideal self, and their actual self. Data analyses reveal that characters often refuse to change permanent aspects of their features, instead modifying only temporal aspects. This research has provided support for the quantitative review of avatar characteristics as predictors of vignette groupings.

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