Title page for ETD etd-05142012-184457

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Waddell, Thomas Franklin
Author's Email Address waddellt@vt.edu
URN etd-05142012-184457
Title It's not easy trying to be one of the guys: The effect of avatar attractiveness, avatar gender, and purported user gender on the success of help-seeking requests in an online game
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ivory, James D. Committee Chair
Magee, Robert G. Committee Member
Waggenspack, Beth M. Committee Member
  • avatars
  • virtual worlds
  • online behavior
  • gender roles
  • computers are social actors
Date of Defense 2012-04-30
Availability unrestricted
Previous research has found that users’ interactions with others in online environments are often guided by the same rules and stereotypes we apply in our everyday lives. However, fewer studies have used virtual worlds as an experimental setting for the systematic examination of how avatar appearance and offline identity affect the outcome of users’ actual interactions. This online field experiment measured the effect of avatar attractiveness, avatar gender, purported user gender, and favor size on the rate at which users received help across 2,300 separate user interactions. In addition, the main study’s avatar gender, purported user gender, and favor size manipulations were replicated with a human avatar condition with 761 participants to examine whether trends for these factors’ effects were similar with human avatars. In the main study, attractive avatars generally received more help than less attractive avatars. However, purported female users were helped less frequently than purported male users when represented by avatars that were either male or less attractive. Trends in the human avatar condition were similar to those observed in the main study. Implications for avatar-mediated communication and the persistence of sex roles in virtual environments are discussed.
  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  Waddell_Thomas_F_D_2012.pdf 7.88 Mb 00:36:29 00:18:45 00:16:25 00:08:12 00:00:42

Browse All Available ETDs by ( Author | Department )

dla home
etds imagebase journals news ereserve special collections
virgnia tech home contact dla university libraries

If you have questions or technical problems, please Contact DLA.