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Hiding or Priding? A Study of Gender, Race, and Gamer Status and Context on Avatar Selection
Unformatted Document Text:  GENDER, RACE, GAMING, AND AVATAR SELECTION 20 what options they had available to them, such as their avatar’s gender, race, body size and skin tone. Once they had completed the avatar selection, participants were asked to step out of the room in order for research assistants to capture a screenshot of the avatar without participants’ knowledge. Participants were then asked to return to the room and begin playing the game for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes of gameplay, participants were asked to complete a computer-based post-test. The survey included demographic questions and items directly assessing the rationale behind their avatar selection. Once they completed the questionnaire, participants were led to a marker board with their subject number written on it. Research assistants then took a head-to-toe photograph of the participants with a digital camera under the guise that the image would help foster better and more realistic avatar designs. Prior to leaving the laboratory, participants were debriefed on the true nature of the experiment. Variables Independent variables. As mentioned above, the experimental manipulations (62 single-player, 53 online, and 72 control) and gender (69 men and 118 women) served as primary independent variables for this study. Race (158 white and 29 nonwhite), and online gamer status (33 yes or 154 no) served as the other independent variables of interest. Dependent variables. Dependent variables were avatar-participant difference metrics, which is the measure of dissimilarity between the participant and the avatar they selected. Eight metric measures were used. Two undergraduate research assistants worked independently to rate the participants’ photographs for attractiveness, skin tone, height and girth, not unlike Averhart and Bigler’s (1997) study. Skin tone was judged on a scale of 1, representing extremely pale, to 7, representing extremely dark. Height was judged on a scale of 1, representing extremely short,

Authors: Dunn, Robert. and Guadagno, Rosanna.
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GENDER, RACE, GAMING, AND AVATAR SELECTION                                                     20
what options they had available to them, such as their avatar’s gender, race, body size and skin 
tone. Once they had completed the avatar selection, participants were asked to step out of the 
room in order for research assistants to capture a screenshot of the avatar without participants’ 
knowledge. Participants were then asked to return to the room and begin playing the game for 20 
minutes. 
At the end of the 20 minutes of gameplay, participants were asked to complete a 
computer-based post-test. The survey included demographic questions and items directly 
assessing the rationale behind their avatar selection. Once they completed the questionnaire, 
participants were led to a marker board with their subject number written on it. Research 
assistants then took a head-to-toe photograph of the participants with a digital camera under the 
guise that the image would help foster better and more realistic avatar designs. Prior to leaving 
the laboratory, participants were debriefed on the true nature of the experiment.
Variables
 Independent variables. As mentioned above, the experimental manipulations (62 
single-player, 53 online, and 72 control) and gender (69 men and 118 women) served as primary 
independent variables for this study. Race (158 white and 29 nonwhite), and online gamer status 
(33 yes or 154 no) served as the other independent variables of interest.
Dependent variables. Dependent variables were avatar-participant difference metrics, 
which is the measure of dissimilarity between the participant and the avatar they selected. Eight 
metric measures were used. Two undergraduate research assistants worked independently to rate 
the participants’ photographs for attractiveness, skin tone, height and girth, not unlike Averhart 
and Bigler’s (1997) study. Skin tone was judged on a scale of 1, representing extremely pale, to 
7, representing extremely dark. Height was judged on a scale of 1, representing extremely short, 


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