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Gender Aspects of Computer Avatars

Larsson, Anna and Nerén, Carina (2005) Gender Aspects of Computer Avatars. [SICS Report]

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Abstract

Women are less dedicated to computer gaming than men. Previous studies show that one reason might be that current games exhibit hypersexualised female avatars: avatars that have exaggerated sexual signals to which female players object. In this thesis the purpose is to find out how female (and male) consumers of computer games really feel about hypersexualized female avatars in computer games and how these feelings differ between the genders. We also explore how the avatars? appearance being assigned certain attitudes impact the preference of avatar. The thesis is divided into two areas of study; in the first, the preliminary study, we investigate which attitudes are associated with certain stereotypes; in the second and main study we use the results from the first study when examining how people relate to hypersexual avatars and the reasons for this. The results from the main study of this thesis show that there are no great differences of how the hypersexual avatars are perceived by males and females, a majority in both gender groups do not reflect on the abnormality of the avatars exaggerated body shape; avatars with this appearance are actually preferred as personal representations in a game. It is the avatars clothes that are more in the centre of attention in the study, the avatars that does not show as much skin as the others are the ones preferred by both males and females. Stereotypical attitudes associated with the avatars seem to influence how the avatars are perceived, the avatars that make people think of a negative stereotype are shunned in selections for personal representation in a game, with a positive stereotype the reactions are the opposite.

Item Type:SICS Report
Uncontrolled Keywords:game design, avatar, gender, experimental study, interaction design
ID Code:2369
Deposited By:Vicki Carleson
Deposited On:29 Oct 2007
Last Modified:18 Nov 2009 16:07

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