Navigation Links
Can you tell a person's gender by their video game avatar?
Date:5/6/2014

This news release is available in French.

Montreal, May 6, 2014 A sexy wood elf with pointy ears. A hulking ogre with blue skin. An intimidating heroine with a buxom breastplate. When it comes to computer games, players can choose to be anyone or anything. But gamers don't always mask their true identities with online avatars.

According to a new study by researchers at Concordia University, Colorado State University, Syracuse University, Hofstra University and the University of Toronto, a male gamer who chooses to play as a female character will still display signs of his true gender.

In the study, which was recently published in Information, Communication and Society, researchers examined the online behaviour of 375 participants as they played a custom-built quest in World of Warcraft a massive multi-player game set in a fantasy world where players battle warlords, dragons, demons and each other to gain strength and abilities. The investigators' goal? To see if gender differences in online behaviour align with the offline social norms that govern "appropriate" behaviour for men and women.

Twenty-three per cent of the study's male participants chose avatars of the opposite gender, and seven per cent of its female participants did the same. As they played, their online movement, chat and clicks on interactive objects were recorded.

"Avatars can convey a player's sense of humour, displeasure, intrigue and interest through cues like gestures, movement and language, which can reveal real-life identity," says Mia Consalvo, one of the study's authors and a professor in Concordia's Department of Communication Studies.

"We looked at things like language use and online movement to see if, among those who played a character of the opposite gender, a player's real-life gender would be revealed."

The researchers found that male gamers with female avatars used more emotional phrases and employed smile emoticons more often than those with male avatars. They were also more likely to choose an attractive avatar.

It was with respect to movement that the male gamers with female avatars ultimately gave themselves away: they moved backwards more often and stayed further away from the group than women playing with female avatars.

"Movement is less conscious than chat, so it can be an easier 'tell' for offline gender," says Consalvo, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design.

Men playing with a female avatar also jumped an average of 116 more times than their female counterparts. There could be a number of reasons for this seemingly odd finding:

  • Gender switchers might be trying to signal their offline gender by jumping more than they would otherwise.
  • Because men sometimes use female avatars to get attention or kinder treatment from other players, jumping may be a move to attract attention.
  • Jumping may be a way to use the avatar for entertainment rather than for the more "serious" work of fighting in-game enemies. Frequent jumps may show that the gamer intends the avatar to play a less serious role in the game.

Ultimately, the study has implications for gender theorists and gamers alike.

"Our findings support feminist theories suggesting that although gender is a powerful social category, there is a range of ways it can be performed," Consalvo says.

"Men may not necessarily try to mask their offline gender when they use a female avatar, but our study shows they do reinforce idealized notions of feminine appearance and communication."


'/>"/>

Contact: Clea Desjardins
clea.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-242-45068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers identify impaired new learning in persons with Parkinsons disease
2. Kessler researchers find aerobic exercise benefits memory in persons with multiple sclerosis
3. Hausdorff to receive GSAs 2013 Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award
4. Highlights on women, minorities and persons with disabilities in science and engineering
5. Diet may not impact certain health outcomes in older persons
6. Kessler Foundation marks 20th Anniversary of International Day of Persons with Disabilities
7. Smartphone app helps mentally ill persons
8. Study examines characteristics, risk factors among HIV-positive persons born outside the US
9. APA task force recommends treatment guidelines and position statements on transgender persons
10. Interpreting the Avastin-Lucentis study for persons with macular degeneration
11. Gender may contribute to recovery time after concussion
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... today the continuation of the ‘Pay It Forward’ program into 2016. BioPlus partners ... at our specialty pharmacy. , “Since our Pay It Forward program began, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers department stores, announced it has raised ... of Wisconsin Cancer Center, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... IsoComforter, Inc., ... introduction of the newly designed, innovative shoulder wrap. The newly designed shoulder ... for the injured arm and shoulder to promote faster healing. It is highly ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... , ... i2i Systems, an early innovator and developer of population health management ... KLAS report, Population Health Management 2015: How Far Can Your Vendor Take You? ... (PHM). The latest KLAS Report, leveraging over 200 user interviews, shines a light ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... its newly redesigned website, federallabs.org . The site houses a wealth of ... available federal technologies through the process called technology transfer (T2). As a network ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)...  Axovant Sciences Ltd. (NYSE:  AXON), a leading ... dementia, today announced further details of three new ... aspects of Lewy body dementia, a disease affecting ... out of the three studies were recently initiated ... this quarter. In addition, the Company reported financial ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , February 9, 2016 ... a biotechnology company focused on developing products for Regenerative ... will be a featured presenting company at Source Capital ... place on February 10-11, 2016 in New ... given on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... -- The global prefilled syringes market accounted for $3,905.1 ... grow with a CAGR of 12.9% during 2015-2020. Among ... the global prefilled syringes market, with 90.1% share in ... The global market of prefilled syringes is up surging ... increasing demand for vaccines, increasing prevalence of chronic and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: