Video game avatar can reveal one's gender

Wednesday, 7 May 2014 - 11:28am IST | Agency: ANI

Washington: Researchers have said that a a male gamer who chooses to play as a female character in a video game will still display signs of his true gender.

In the new study by researchers at Concordia University, Colorado State University, Syracuse University, Hofstra University and the University of Toronto, 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.

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.

Mia Consalvo one of the study's authors and a professor in Concordia's Department of Communication Studies, said 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.

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.

Men playing with a female avatar also jumped an average of 116 more times than their female counterparts.The study has been published in the journal Information, Communication and Society.




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