Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Psychologists find the avatar you pick defines your behavior toward strangers

See also

The avatar that people opt for in the virtual world of video games has a direct effect on how people treat other people in the real world according to research conducted by Gunwoo Yoon and Patrick Vargas from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was published in the Feb. 10, 2014, edition of the journal Psychological Science.

Participant volunteers were asked to select a heroic avatar, an avatar villain, or a neutral avatar. The participants played a video game for five minutes. The participants were then asked to give strangers either a chocolate flavored food item or a hot chili flavored food item the participants had previously tasted.

People that played villains opted to give strangers chili laced food twice as often as people that opted to play heroes. Both heroes and neutral avatars selected to give chocolate to strangers more often than chili. The recipients of the chocolate and chili were not aware of the contents of the food items before they ate them.

The behavior was determined to be independent of how much the participants identified with the avatar they had selected. The level of personal involvement in the game was found to be a key to how people treated strangers.

Yoon and Vargas note. "People are prone to be unaware of the influence of their virtual representations on their behavioral responses." The scientists also noted the effect on how people behave with strangers could be elicited by as little as five minutes of video game playing.



  •  One year later
    How victims have recovered a year after the Boston Marathon bombing
    Watch Video
  • Tax day freebies
    Everyone dreads tax day, but some businesses are offering deals today only
    Tax Day
  • Obamacare savings
    The rollout of Obamacare will cost $104 billion less than previously projected
    Top News
  • Blood Moon
    The first of four 'Blood Moons' came and went; is it the beginning of the end for mankind?
  • Arrest for threatening tweet
    A 14-year-old girl is arrested for issuing a threatening tweet towards American Airlines
    Strange News
  • Pistorius cross examination concludes
    Oscar Pistorius sheds more tears during the trial's final cross examination
    Watch Video

Related Videos:

  • US oligarchy study: Eye-opening study reveals disturbing facts about the US
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518038413" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Boston Marathon
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518196448" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • John Deffenbaugh in the Capitol
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;autoplay=1"></iframe>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!