User-Avatar Relationships in Various Contexts

Anna Samira Praetorius, Lara Krautmacher, Gabriela Tullius, Cristóbal Curio:

User-Avatar Relationships in Various Contexts: Does Context Influence a Users’ Perception and Choice of an Avatar? In: Mensch und Computer 2021 (MuC ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 275–280
DOI: 10.1145/3473856.3474007
05. September 2021


Avatars are in use when interacting in virtual environments in different contexts, in collaborative work, as well as in gaming and also in virtual meetings with friends. Therefore it is important to understand how the relationship between user and avatar works. In this study, an online survey is used to determine how the perception of an avatar changes in different contexts by relating it to existing avatar relationship typologies. Additionally, it is determined whether in each context a realistic, abstract or comic-like representation is preferred by the participants. One result was a preference of low poly representations in the work context, which are associated with the perception of the avatar as a tool. In the context of meeting friends, a realistic representation is perceived as more appropriate, which is perceived as an accurate self-representation. In the gaming context, the results are less clear, which can be attributed to different gaming preferences. Here, unlike in the other contexts, a comic-like representation is also perceived as appropriate, which is associated with the perception of the avatar as a friend. A symbiotic user-avatar relationship is not directly related to any form of representation, but always lies in the midfield, which is attributed to the fact that it represents a whole spectrum between other categories.

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