The effects of static avatars on impression formation across different contexts on social networking sites

David Westerman, Ron Tamborini, Nicholas Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When making judgments about others, people use whatever social information is available in online environments. Such is the case for forming impressions of others. One type of such social information is a user’s avatar. This study examines different types of avatars (photographs, cartoon humans, and nonhumans) created for task, social or dating/romantic situations to study the effect of avatar type on judgments of uncertainty and task-specific attractiveness. Data suggest various patterns of uncertainty and attractiveness in these situations. Both the graphic from of an avatar and the context of impression formation have effects on subsequent impression formation. Judgments of uncertainty and attraction were affected by both the graphic from of avatar and by the consistency between the context of impression formation and the attractiveness cues of the avatar. These findings are discussed as are implications for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111–117
JournalDefault journal
StatePublished - 2015

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