For most people, a typical morning includes waking up, rubbing their eyes, checking their phone, making some breakfast, and heading towards the bathroom soon after. But not for that reason, silly! It is to of course usually to check them selves out in the mirror. For some that might include having a list of activities you do while staring at your reflection. This could include but not limited too, brushing your hair, shaving your beard, putting on a new tie, applying makeup, putting together an outfit, and accessorizing with jewelry before you start your day. By customizing ourselves, we get to portray a unique image of who we want to be for that day, but of course we are limited to changing the features we were given, such as height, weight, body parts, facial structures, and more. And although we wish we could do it with the snap of our fingers, we cannot, but in the virtual world we have that power to do whatever we want with our avatars.
“Studies have shown that, in general, people create slightly idealized avatars based on their actual selves,” says Nick Yee, who used to work as a research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center but who now works at Ubisoft. He should know: before joining Ubisoft Yee has spent years studying the effects of avatars on human behavior in settings such as Second Life and World Of Warcraft. “But a compensation effect has been observed. People with a higher body mass index – likely overweight or obese – create more physically idealized avatars, [which are] taller or thinner. And people who are depressed or have low self-esteem create avatars with more idealized traits, [such as being] more gregarious and conscientious.”
According to that study, people who don’t like their outwards appearance get to make avatars that they would subconsciously like to encompass. They get to be someone else they’re not, almost like an alter ego. They get to make themselves more or less fitting to the ideology our society has of attractiveness. Although this could seem sad, many players take great pride in their avatars and become really proud of the person they got to create. Their looks, their lives, their accomplishments, all begin to drive up real life self esteem for some players. When I played the Sims for many years, I loved making my characters really beautiful and aesthetically pleasing together, and I loved seeing how their babies would come out. It was really fun to pick their clothes, their eye shape, their noses, their shoes, their hair styles and use my creative style to make them. You don’t need a great plastic surgeon to make another version of yourself. Making avatars that capture your individuality, in my opinion is really great!