In molti ambienti virtuali ci si sceglie un avatar che ci rappresenti. L’aspetto fisico dell’avatar condiziona il nostro modo di relazionarci con il mondo virtuale, proprio come accade nel mondo fisico reale.
“In the real world, more attractive people tend to dominate social interactions in certain ways: they move closer to the people they are interacting with and are more open about sharing personal information about themselves. […]
in a pilot study the researchers created an immersive 3D environment that users could navigate with goggles and motion-sensitive headsets and ran a lab experiment in which participants interacted with a confederate in the virtual environment. Each participant was randomly assigned an avatar of high, medium, or low attractiveness, while the confederate’s avatar was always of medium attractiveness. The researchers didn’t tell the participants the purpose of the study and recorded everything that occurred during the interactions.
To prevent the experimental manipulation from impacting the confederate’s behavior, the system was designed to reveal different views of the participant’s avatar to the participant and to the confederate. Thus a participant might see himself or herself in a virtual mirror as very attractive, but the confederate saw every participant as having a generic human face. […}
The striking result of the pilot study was that participants assigned more attractive avatars did indeed behave more intimately when interacting. Compared to participants with less attractive avatars, they moved closer to the confederate’s avatar when asked to do so and revealed more information when prompted to introduce themselves during a conversation.”
Expressing My Inner Gnome: Appearance and Behavior in Virtual Worlds, di Shyong K. Lam e John Riedl, in IEEE Computer, July 2011