Digitally Enhance your Ego

Tomas Pieters
April 23rd 2010

Avatars, almost every internet user has at least one of them running around somewhere on the web. We control then in numerous games and forums, but do they also control us?

Researchers at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at the Stanford university have researched the effects of the appearance of avatars on the behavior of their 'controllers'. People with a more attractive avatar acted more extrovert and outgoing than the ones with a less good looking one.

This effect however isn't as surprising as the following effect: it doesn't wear of once the computer is turned off.

In a test the subjects were asked to first interact in a digital space and afterward, without knowing that it still was the same experiment, to split money with another person in real life. People who have been playing with taller avatars were more likely to make unfair split proposal in their favor and less likely to accept an unfair offer from the other side. This also works the other way around: shorter avatars result in less aggressive negotiating and accepting less fair offers.

So are you ready to take your digital booster shots before you go into a meeting? and what kind of negotiator do you want to be?

Read the entire research article by Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson (pdf).

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Dirk with a vengeance
Posted 08/06/2010 – 00:01

@1blog
I don't think the subjects in this experiment selected their own avatars.

1blog
Posted 24/04/2010 – 15:37

Research talks about "effect of avatars"
There must be "effect of humans" when selecting avatars as well

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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