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Influence of Avatars and Images: are you affected?

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posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:09 AM
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Consider the implications [and] possibilities for social and psychological manipulation... The possibilities are endless...

What does a chosen avatar reveal? Does it influence how you perceive others or how you are perceived? (are you credible, are you intelligent, are you trusted, etc.) With the absence of physical presence and non-verbal communication ques, avatars may provide a means to identify, relate to and evaluate and judge others online and if so, they may have have greater implications for a user, than perhaps one thought.


Uncertainty Reduction Theory posits that people's primary goal in an interaction is to reduce uncertainty about the person they are interacting with. In reducing uncertainty, people strive to understand people's behavior during interactions as well as to predict future behavior Thus, people strive to 'get to know' or form perceptions of others...

...because avatars are a visible representation of a person ... evaluations based on the physical appearance of the avatar may be transferred to them. In other words, people use information related to the virtual image in a process analogous to the one they have learned and used to reduce uncertainty during their experience in natural environments...

...It is possible that the presence of an avatar is a strong social cue that influences people's perceptions, leading them to perceive interfaces as more 'social'. Similarly, how people perceive avatars may influence both the self-perception and perception of others using a particular avatar as well as message perception and retention...


Not only do avatars create a more 'social' online perception, but the 'type' of avatar chosen may directly affect a user's credibility...


...avatars that were more anthropomorphic were perceived to be more attractive and credible, and people were more likely to choose to be represented by them. The strongest predictor of these variables, however, was the degree of masculinity or femininity (lack of androgyny) of an avatar. Further, those images with strong gender indications (either more masculine or more feminine) were perceived as more anthropomorphic than images (whether human or not) without strong indications of gender.


Basically, the findings suggest that people have higher expectations of users with avatars that are male or female (rather than object) and that there may be consequences associated with those expectations...


...it seems that the characteristics of an avatar may at times provide useful, and relatively accurate, information about the person it represents... a majority reported a preference for avatars that were 'like' them, at least in terms of gender. This suggests that users may also want to match other characteristics such as hair color and race, perhaps sexual orientation, or even hobbies...


What are you intentionally or unintentionally conveying with your image?

Did you choose your avatar based on attributes that reflect who you are? Is it possible that your avatar is influencing other peoples perceptions of your intelligence, your likability, your credibility and your personality? Are you using a particular avatar to convey a meaning?

{Hmmm}

*Again, consider the implications [and] possibilities for social and psychological manipulation...





full study here

[edit on 21-10-2009 by LadySkadi]




posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:20 AM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


very interesting...i picked mine because i like the band tool....



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:37 AM
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Originally posted by chrisd250
reply to post by LadySkadi
 


very interesting...i picked mine because i like the band tool....



wow...

I had flash-backs of my day in the Army as a 55 bang-bang and tried to find this in you avatar:







On topic:

I picked mine because I'm a wannabe...





posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:39 AM
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reply to post by chrisd250
 


i like the deftones.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:41 AM
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Considering the general content of this site, I wanted something "spacey". So I threw this together.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:44 AM
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reply to post by happygolucky
 


haha
dont be going all PTSD on me!



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:46 AM
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My avatars change frequently, but the female in them ALWAYS looks like me.
Right now, I feel sexy, dominant, and that is what my avatar conveys.
I even dress like her, as I told another member, and I should take a pic and post it...



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:50 AM
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What of the other side of the coin?

Images (in general) are all meant to convey a message... There's intent behind the images. I'm interested in whether that intent is noticed, internalized, acted upon...

Are we 'aware' of this? Are we reacting to the message that's being conveyed in that image and how influential is it to us as well as to the user?



[edit on 21-10-2009 by LadySkadi]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:51 AM
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Big Brother loves me.

I like to think it sums up my day to day since the "re-education" rather nicely.

Victory coffee, anyone?


(*edit to add - I would hope the sentiment is shared with the viewer, but alas - many still fear the oppresive nature of the symbolism I've employed. )

[edit on 10/21/09 by GENERAL EYES]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:56 AM
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Originally posted by LadySkadi
What of the other side of the coin?

Images (in general) are all meant to convey a message... There's intent behind the images. I'm interested in whether that intent is noticed, internalized, acted upon...

Are we 'aware' of this? Are we reacting to the message that's being conveyed in that image and how influential is it to us as well as to the user?



[edit on 21-10-2009 by LadySkadi]


the feeling i get from mine is kinda the same message in TOOL's song Vicarious, which basically talks about people's obsession with watching tragedy happen and acting like it doesnt entertain them, people watching things die from a safe distance, hence the teary eye with a death skull inside...



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:59 AM
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My Avatar is the pretty soldier of the galaxy, Sailor Galaxia.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:12 AM
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As in other past posts of this same nature that creep up from time to time.. I will answer the same.

Mine represents the fact that everything you look upon will eventually die or turn to dust.

Sad... but just a fact of life.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:21 AM
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Because someone picked it out for me...

Fav movie, and other stuff!

What it say you?



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:23 AM
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Thanks for all the explanations, they are very interesting...

- But -

I'm coming from more of the pscho.social angle of image manipulation and it's influence on perception and reality. The use of image to convey an intentional message, or the lack of understanding about that intent.
____________________________
So, not so much "what does your avatar image mean to you?" but "what do other peoples images mean to you?" what are you getting from it and how does it impact you and your "perception" of them".

Example: Do you trust them? Are you more likely to consider a message valid from one person -vs- another, based on your interpretation of who that person is and is that interpretation based on your like/dislike of the image they use to represent themselves?

[edit on 21-10-2009 by LadySkadi]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:25 AM
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I picked my current avatar, because my other ones have a habit of disappearing due to policy changes, and whatnot.
This one is part of the site, and even conveys one of the properties that I like about it.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:28 AM
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Name, Avatar, Sig. All created to elicit a response.

Oh no, the ENDISNIGHE, again.


I have been working on a new one. I almost got it. Remember Kareem Abdul Jubbar in the Stephing King movie The Stand with Randall Flagg as the arch nemisis of all of mankind. Too bad I cannot embed a ringing bell.

A ringing of a hand bell. The end is coming. The end is coming. Larry, He is coming for you.

SWEET!



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:32 AM
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So does this mean that every time i see someone with a anime based avatar they really are 13 Years old and im not just making that up in my head?


i usually use avatars of things i like.. in a hetero way of course.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:35 AM
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i icked my avatar becuase its a photo of me
xx



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:38 AM
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reply to post by Bringer
 


It might mean that, yah (or) it might not and think about it, if you aren't a 13 year old kid; wouldn't you want to know if that was the image you were giving off? Could be, depending on how you felt you were being taken online (serious, not serious, do you care, etc.)







[edit on 21-10-2009 by LadySkadi]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:41 AM
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um... my avatar is me. so i dunno what that is supposed to mean. Maybe; "thumbs up and a great big craaaaazy smile to everyone!"






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