Through The Looking-Glass

This dataset explores several aspects of identity projection through the use of avatars. When players create and play their characters, how many of them choose to act and behave pretty much the same as they do in real life, and how many deliberately try out new personalities? And do players tend to behave and act the same way across their different characters? Are there gender or age differences? And finally, do motivations for playing or personality traits have an influence on how identity is projected through avatars?

Female players are more likely to behave and interact in an MMORPG very similarly to how they behave and interact with others in real life when compared with male players.

Age, however, seems to be the more important factor.


The multiple regression results show that Extraverts are more likely to behave similarly while Introverts tend to behave more differently in online games. Data on "true identity" (presented on page 3) will help us make better sense of this finding. Also note that Age and Extraversion do not correlate (r = -.02).

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Players were also asked how consistently they act and behave when they are playing different characters. Gender and age had no impact on the outcome of the responses.

The multiple regression results show that it is the desire for immersion and role-playing that most differentiates players who behave consistently across their characters from the players who donít.

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Finally, respondents were asked whether they felt that they were more of "who you really are" in the MMORPG than in real life. There were no significant gender differences.

The multiple regression results show that players who enjoy socializing and who use online games as a form of escape feel their online identities are closer to "who they really are". The same is true for Introverts. This finding helps us make more sense of the earlier data (on page 1) where we found that Introverts are more likely to behave differently online. Looking at these two data points together, it suggests that while Introverts behave differently online, their online identity is actually more of who they really are. This seems to imply that online spaces allow Introverts to overcome some social or psychological barriers that prevent them from being who they want to be in the physical world.

Note (11/30/2007): Small changes were made due to errors spotted by Mage5625. The story around Introverts/Extraverts got a little more interesting.