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Do You Pay Attention To Avatars' Bodies And Gender?

Do You Pay Attention To Avatars' Bodies And Gender?

Naturally, I spend a lot of time playing video games and visiting websites that use avatars. I think of them as digital characters, that are human-like, but not necessarily reflective of what I think real people should look like. Aside from cracking a few jokes about the impossible curves of video game vixens - I mean, the Fantastic Four game even put Jessica Alba's body to shame - and the built-in stereotyping, I hardly ever pay attention to avatars.

What's interesting though, is the fact that a recent study showed that androgynous digital personas, ie avatars, are perceived as less trustworthy than ones that are clearly either male or female. It makes me wonder if people honestly find the need to assign gender roles to digital images, or if people are just more accustomed to the exaggerated gender stereotypes that seem to be perpetuated online. According to New Scientist Tech, people typically extend this impression to the person behind the avatar too - meaning avatar design and behavior may have a range of unforeseen psychological influences and that such virtual personas need to be carefully designed to make the right impression.

The issue of trust and personality perception is especially intriguing when you think about the number of people that spend a great deal of time in 3D virtual worlds like Second Life and end up creating avatars to represent themselves and later make virtual friends. Still, not "trusting" an avatar because it's androgynous seems bizarre. Everyone trusts David Bowie, right?

Join The Conversation
M8ndy41 M8ndy41 9 years
avatars aren't a big deal, but i do hate when they are androgynous. i think it's just the way i've been brought up in society. it isn't really a problem and i dont judge people by their androgynous avatars, i just dont like the avatars very much. i think it's really just a culture thing.
laura1867 laura1867 9 years
Going to go cruise some of the other features...........not totally ready to be chatting with others yet ,,,,never done that just email an IM ....lame right?
laura1867 laura1867 9 years
I'just found out that Popsugar is more than a celebrity gossip and photo site ...How cool!!!!!!
katie10 katie10 9 years
I never pay attention to avatars. They're supposed to give people a sense of who's sitting on the other computer that you're interacting with, but people don't really look like their avatars, so they're pretty much pointless.
starofsorrow starofsorrow 9 years
Avatars are just what buddy icons are to me, pretty much. I mainly focus on the person behind it. I play Second Life, and I will be one of the FIRST to say that I don't look like my avatar, and I could care less.
vienvien vienvien 9 years
I dont care about avatars
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i dunno - i mean i think of the people as their avatars - like to me you look like your avatar, GeekSugar! (i think you're pretty in your hotel video though, but i can't help thinking you look like the avatar). i do not look like anne of green gables though
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
I love making avatars too- it's a like a cute, little version of me :)
mizlynz mizlynz 9 years
I just like MAKING avatars.
c0rkie c0rkie 9 years
unless its explicit like the dead or alive girls. i dont really pay much attention.
liladdieshudiva liladdieshudiva 9 years
strange, but fun to create.
rubialala rubialala 9 years
I've never paid attention to their gender.
marley11 marley11 9 years
i think avatars are really cool. but almost 99% of the time, give a really fake version of what the person looks like. i like the ones from the sugars though! :)
shini shini 9 years
actually maybe in Sims2 I do care.
shini shini 9 years
I couldn't care less...I've tried SL (Secondlife) and people would ask why i won't change my character's body/clothes..
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