Who do you think you are? What does your avatar say about you?

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When using social virtual reality, people hide behind avatars. But is it really hidden, or is it a way to express our new digital selves? A new study on the Trinity was published in Journal of Digital Social Research It refers to both things – experiencing an individual’s avatar can be a creative act of self-representation, but also out of conformity or escape.

“Any experience that is dictated by the limits of the technology, the application, the community involved, or the user themselves, but still represents a way to feel better or more secure in the digital worlds that are now replacing more and more activities of the physical world,” Trinity’s Dr. Kata Szita, who led the research.

“The accelerated trend of participation in virtual environments has of course been driven by the physical isolation that many people encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic, which made this research even more relevant.”

Dr. Szita, Marie Skodowska-Curie Fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and the ADAPT Center of Excellence for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology hosted by Trinity, has developed a new framework based on her findings that combine intersectionality and social identity theory .

Intersectionality treats that a set (intersection) of identities determines the inclusion of an individual or his distinction in some social contextsWhile social identity theory notes social dynamic By belonging to groups, he explains that an individual’s idea of ​​himself is shaped by his membership in these groups.

Just as in the ‘real’ world, people have different different identities that define their social interactions – whether that’s as a female elf warrior in a multiplayer game. online gameor the professional representation of itself in metaphysics,” adds Dr. Szeta.

Intersectionality has its base in the black feminist movements of the 1970s and highlights that black women They can be subjected to systematic persecution because they are black and because they are women. This is true for other intersecting identities, and is just as true in social virtual reality settings as it is in everyday life. “

“Avatars can also represent cross characteristics, so users may similarly experience privileges or biases based on two or more demographics. But what is interesting here is the dimension of imagination: that these avatars, again, may be different from the users behind them.” They perceive or identify themselves personally – which is why it is important to approach the issue of VR identities from the other side, from the perspective of social groups.”

When choosing an avatar, the user may need to adjust their visual or characteristic representation to whatever is available: some social VR apps only support a binary system of genders and stereotypical body representations to express their age, for example. Other times, one may want to look in a certain way to fit in with the community with which they interact. In both cases, an individual’s digital body influences social interactions and whether he or she fits in or is excluded from certain social groups.

“Doing this research was important because digital bodies serve as the basis for millions of social interactions in virtual settings every day, but do not necessarily reflect the identities and characteristics of the user behind them. This requires a different viewpoint than when we observe social interactions in the physical world.”

Next time you choose a character when playing a video game Or connecting with others from around the world in a virtual environment, I would encourage you to think about why you make the choices you make and consider the impact they might have on your interactions with others.”

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more information:
Kata Szeta, a virtual safe space?, Journal of Digital Social Research (2022). DOI: 10.33621 / jdsr.v4i3.91

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the quote: Who do you think you are? What does your avatar say about you? (2022, September 19) Retrieved September 19, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-avatar.html

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