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It's not easy trying to be one of the guys: The effect of avatar attractiveness, avatar gender, and purported user gender on the success of help-seeking requests in an online game
Waddell, Thomas Franklin
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Previous research has found that usersâ interactions with others in online environments are often guided by the same rules and stereotypes we apply in our everyday lives. However, fewer studies have used virtual worlds as an experimental setting for the systematic examination of how avatar appearance and offline identity affect the outcome of usersâ actual interactions. This online field experiment measured the effect of avatar attractiveness, avatar gender, purported user gender, and favor size on the rate at which users received help across 2,300 separate user interactions. In addition, the main studyâ s avatar gender, purported user gender, and favor size manipulations were replicated with a human avatar condition with 761 participants to examine whether trends for these factorsâ effects were similar with human avatars. In the main study, attractive avatars generally received more help than less attractive avatars. However, purported female users were helped less frequently than purported male users when represented by avatars that were either male or less attractive. Trends in the human avatar condition were similar to those observed in the main study. Implications for avatar-mediated communication and the persistence of sex roles in virtual environments are discussed.
- Masters Theses