An Examination of Impression Management through Avatars and Usernames in Online Video Games

Date
2015-05
Authors
Bendix Harper, Elizabeth
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Abstract
The purpose of this investigation was to examine players’ use of impression management strategies in different online video games. Specifically, players’ goals to create avatars and usernames that demonstrated physical attractiveness, likeability, and skill were measured for social and competitive games. Similarity with their avatar and avatar creation time were also measured for players who were and were not anticipating future interactions. Impression management provided the primary theoretical framework for this study. Participants reported to the lab to create avatars and usernames for an online video game, and then completed a questionnaire. Results indicated that social game players created avatars and usernames that were designed to appear more likeable than competitive game players. Competitive game players created avatars that were designed to appear more skillful than avatars created for social games, but usernames did not demonstrate the same difference for game type. No significant differences for avatars and usernames were found for game type on the design goal of physical attractiveness. Additionally, the data showed no significant differences for future type on similarity with avatar or avatar creation time. Results indicate support for impression management theory in the applied context of online video games.
Description
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords
impression management, avatars, usernames, video games
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