On the Relationship between My Avatar and Myself


  • Paul R Messinger University of Alberta
  • Xin Ge University of Northern British Columbia
  • Eleni Stroulia University of Alberta
  • Kelly Lyons University of Toronto
  • Kristen Smirnov University of Alberta
  • Michael Bone University of Alberta




Avatar appearance, avatar behavior, virtual worlds, self-concept, self-enhancement, self-verification, deindividuation


What is the relationship between avatars and the people they represent in terms of appearance and behavior? In this paper, we hypothesize that people (balancing motives of self-verification and self-enhancement) customize the image of their avatars to bear similarity to their real selves, but with moderate enhancements. We also hypothesize that virtual-world behavior (due to deindividuation in computer-mediated communication environments) is less restrained by normal inhibitions than real-world behavior. Lastly, we hypothesize that people with more attractive avatars than their real selves will be somewhat more confident and extraverted in virtual worlds than they are in the real world. We examine these issues using data collected from Second Life residents using an in-world intercept method that involved recruiting respondents




Peer Reviewed Research Papers