Appearance and Behavior in Virtual Worlds

Everyone has their own way to escape the grind of the day to day process of life. Some people read, listen to music , workout, play sports and some play video games. In this day and age video games have gone from one dimensional flat areas of space and turned into 3-D areas of space that can mimic the world that we live in. The vivid images that are produced can form these new types of world that some people move through and allow them to create new lives and personalities or do things that they may not be able to in their normal lives. These types of games are referred to as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) these types of games allow the players to create avatars to represent themselves as they move throughout the virtual world interacting with other players from around the real world. Something that stems from this is referred to as the Proteus Effect and the extent of how much the apperence of certain character effects how the player feels about themselves.  In a study performed during game play players were randomly assigned avatars and some early results show that the taller avatars were much confident than the shorter avatars. Also the taller avatars would make decision that helpt themselves more than the shorter ones that were twice as likely to accept an offer that didn’t go in their favor.

In most cases players of these types of games tend to choose avatars that match their own gender  but in a survey of 1,040 World of Warcraft players “gender-bend” when it comes to selecting their character causing a clouded view of the gender roles in the virtual world. In the World of Warcarft the two activities that are common between genders are Player vs Player and Healing, more time than not these actions are not specified by the players gender but by the gender of the avatar in the game. Although the effect of behavior is still early this science is something to be

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