In-game avatars are something players are always in control of when playing many games. An avatar often acts as a way for the player to interact with the world and allow the player to feel like their decisions are important to them. Today, however, we’ll be talking about how games, where there is character customization in some way, affect the players outside of the game. We’ll do that by talking about a real-life experiment.


A Study Of Clothes

In a certain study, two groups of people were given different sets of clothes to wear. One set is an artist’s smocks, the other set is a doctor’s coat. They were then given a test to judge their ability to pay attention to detail.

As you might guess there was a significant difference between the artists vs the doctors. 

People wearing the doctor’s coat scored higher than those wearing artist smocks. But that’s not the end of the story.

What’s more interesting is that they were actually wearing the same white coat. The only difference is what the researcher’s called the same white coat in the experiments. The same applies to avatars in video games although it seems to a lesser effect.


Game Avatars

An avatar’s look, personality, and other aspects can have a similar subdued effect on you as a player. There is a good example of this.

A good example would be how male or female characters can affect player decision making. When playing as a female character, players are more likely to exhibit motherly traits and take care of their comrades more often. When playing as a male avatar, players are more likely to show off competitive aspects of their nature.

By keeping this effect in mind we can push our players in one direction or another by subtly shifting the personalities of the characters they use within the context of our video game. At the end of the day, this would also have some effect on them in the real world as well. Want to have an impact on your players? Try making an avatar that acts as the paragon of virtues or exposing the avatar to situations that would trigger the player to exhibit the right traits that you want to instill in them.

That does not mean it’s fool-proof, and please keep in mind you still might have very angry trolls in your comment section on your game’s forum.

With that said, I hope you continue making your game! Stay tuned for more information on game psychology.

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