All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.

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 7 as impression management. Walther (1996) contended that computer-mediated communication is an ideal medium for users to accomplish this. Higgins (1987) explained that people are aware of and often wish to remedy the gap that separates themselves from what they want to be and from what they think others want them to be. Such theories, however, fail to fully grasp the potential that the avatar-centric realms of gaming. They also fail to address the particular reasons why a user might select one avatar look over another. The motivations for why users role-play and why some may select “aberrant images,” as Schlenker (1980) referred to them. Why would a user select an avatar that would appear to have little or no social advantages? Avatar Selection As early as 1979, the term “avatar” began surfacing in the gaming world. One of the earliest graphics-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, titled Avatar, was launched that same year (Bartle, 2003). However, use of the term is typically traced to the 1986 MMO Habitat, by Lucasfilm (Britt, 2008). The game is noteworthy because it involved players logging into a network to play the game with others. The creators referred the characters that the players selected and customized to represent themselves as “avatars” (Rheingold, 1993). Though Higgins’s (1987) Self Discrepancy Theory and its supporting concepts of the self (actual, ideal, and ought) would seem to be a perfect framework for understanding the avatar selection, it has its limitations, particularly within the context of self-presentation online. First, Schlenker (1980) has already noted that some people do not in fact present themselves in idealized or normative ways. They may choose to present themselves in less advantageous or even in antisocial ways. Such phenomena are not without precedent in the world of MMOs. For instance, some select evil races, such as those of the Horde – a coalition of evil races in World of Warcraft (Ducheneaut, Yee, Nickell, & Moore, 2006b). Lee (2004) offers a potentially more

Authors: Dunn, Robert. and Guadagno, Rosanna.
first   previous   Page 7 of 35   next   last

background image
GENDER, RACE, GAMING, AND AVATAR SELECTION                                                     7
as impression management. Walther (1996) contended that computer-mediated communication is 
an ideal medium for users to accomplish this. Higgins (1987) explained that people are aware of 
and often wish to remedy the gap that separates themselves from what they want to be and from 
what they think others want them to be. Such theories, however, fail to fully grasp the potential 
that the avatar-centric realms of gaming. They also fail to address the particular reasons why a 
user might select one avatar look over another. The motivations for why users role-play and why 
some may select “aberrant images,” as Schlenker (1980) referred to them. Why would a user 
select an avatar that would appear to have little or no social advantages?
Avatar Selection
As early as 1979, the term “avatar” began surfacing in the gaming world. One of the 
earliest graphics-based massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, titled Avatar, was launched 
that same year (Bartle, 2003). However, use of the term is typically traced to the 1986 MMO 
Habitat, by Lucasfilm (Britt, 2008). The game is noteworthy because it involved players logging 
into a network to play the game with others. The creators referred the characters that the players 
selected and customized to represent themselves as “avatars” (Rheingold, 1993). 
Though Higgins’s (1987) Self Discrepancy Theory and its supporting concepts of the self 
(actual, ideal, and ought) would seem to be a perfect framework for understanding the avatar 
selection, it has its limitations, particularly within the context of self-presentation online. First, 
Schlenker (1980) has already noted that some people do not in fact present themselves in 
idealized or normative ways. They may choose to present themselves in less advantageous or 
even in antisocial ways. Such phenomena are not without precedent in the world of MMOs. For 
instance, some select evil races, such as those of the Horde – a coalition of evil races in World of 
Warcraft (Ducheneaut, Yee, Nickell, & Moore, 2006b). Lee (2004) offers a potentially more 

All Academic Convention makes running your annual conference simple and cost effective. It is your online solution for abstract management, peer review, and scheduling for your annual meeting or convention.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 7 of 35   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.