Technology Impacts Interaction: Virtual vs. Physical

With the advanced technology in today’s society there are many different routes one can take to connect or interact with one another. This can vary from Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and even virtual worlds! In such a virtual environment, many inquiries come up related to if people are behaving as themselves or taking on an entirely new personality in this virtual world. Multiple interesting studies have taken place in order to get to the bottom of these social interactions, and whether or not people’s appearance online impacts their behavior or not.

In one study, researchers were able to confirm that, yes, individuals do change they way they act according to their avatar appearance online. Some of the factors of appearance included, height of avatar, appearance of the face, and color of their hair. Researchers found that the more attractive avatars were more “confident” with their interactions with others and were far more intimate in their conversations than those who had unattractive looking avatars. These attractive avatars were more open to move close to those when having conversations and were far more concerned about their own well being than those who were shorter and less pleasing to the eye.

Gender roles apply in these virtual worlds as well. Most people tend to stick to their own gender when it comes to creating avatars, but there are some who “gender-bend” in these imaginary environments as well. It has been shown that those who have created avatars of the opposite gender actually follow the so-called appropriate behavior of the gender they are seen to be online. The reasoning behind this is not proven yet, as these studies are still in their early stages. As researches find out more about these online roles, I am sure a lot of interesting  results will break through.

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