Deception in avatar-mediated virtual environment
This study explored the effects of avatars on deception – how perceived avatar likeness to self can affect the truthfulness and accuracy of interactions online. More specifically, this study examined the extent to which perceived avatar similarity influences self-awareness and users’ degree of attraction to them, and how these psychological states affect deception in the context of Second Life. The results, based on web-based survey data of 159 Second Life users, revealed that avatar similarity in attitude and behavior to the owner heightened self-awareness, which, in turn, reduced deception. Perceived avatar similarity in terms of appearance was found to have a direct negative impact on deception so that those who perceived their avatars to look similar to themselves were less likely to engage in deceptive behavior. Implications of the findings are discussed. âº We examined the effect of avatar similarity on deception. âº The role of self-awareness and attraction as intervening factors was explored. âº Avatar homophily with self increases private self-awareness, which reduces deception. âº Homophily increases attraction. âº Avatar physical similarity with self directly attenuates deception.