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The face behind the avatar

A unique study from Concordia University is looking at the connection between a computer user and the avatar they use.

A unique study from Concordia University is looking at the connection between a computer user and the avatar they use.

The study, headed up by Dr. H. Onur Bodur, an associate professor from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia, was undertaken to look at if avatars reflect the personality of their owner.

Avatars are the graphic representation of a person, used on the computer in one form or another, and users from the virtual world Second Life were interviewed to provide the relevant data.

“Our findings suggest that there are statistically significant relations between the avatar cues and the true personality dimensions,” said Bodur. “To give you an example, male targets that had avatars with army pants or black shirts had less agreeable personalities.”

Avatars are used in not only to represent people in virtual worlds like Second Life, but as well website bulletin boards, real-time chat rooms, and multi-user domains.

Bodur said that out of all the information gathered from Second life users, some of the surprising information came from how similar the people could be to their avatar.

“What makes our findings surprising is that even in a virtual world...where people have all the freedom to portray a different self than who they are, their avatars are not far off from who they really are,” said Bodur.

 
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