Study: Avatars Dressed In Klan Robes Usually Belong To Unpleasant People

A researcher down in Texas has found that, when people are assigned to play characters wearing the brooding black robes of an emo Jedi, or the coneheaded getup of a KKK grand kobold or whatever, they exhibit antisocial behaviours.

The study, entitled "The Priming Effects of Avatars in Virtual Settings," more or less says that people don't have to self-select antisocial depictions of themselves to engage in antisocial behaviours. Just being told to play on the Dark Side in Jedi Knight II, or as a Klanketeer in another setting, encourages them to be a-holes. So you can imagine what that says about a person who creates the skeleton-faced, top-hatted all-black avatar with a tag like xXx_ScAbIEsDeM0n_XxX.

Before you get huffy, the study's author isn't singling out video games or avatars; they just comprise one environment that can also "prime" people to be louts and douchebags. Let me submit another: The 101 from the 87 to Mountain View at 8:25 a.m. on a weekday.

But yeah, as "no shit" findings go, it does sound rather obvious. You can read up on the rest of the study if you like.

What Does Your Video Game Avatar Say About You? [Daily Comet via Destructoid][Pic via Something Awful]


    I did my own study on this, and discovered that it didn't matter what gamers used as their avatar. They were assholes no matter what they were "wearing".

    Can I conduct a study on gamer tags? I theorize that anyone with mutliple x's in their tags or uses the number 69 is also an asshole.

    Could also check the metrics for trending when measured agains tags that have variations on the names "Master Chief" or "Marcus Fenix:\" :P

    Sorry Owen, your article text doesn't seem to correctly reflect the import of the study. The study isn't "people who play evil characters are jerks", the study is "playing an evil character is likely to make you act like a jerk, whether or not the designation of evil was your choice". Which is significantly more interesting, and important.

    For one thing, it's a peer reviewed study that backs up the idea that playing an villainous character in a game (eg, a terrorist) has measurable consequences on people's social interactions with others. Albeit, confined to within the context of that game.

      Certainly makes sense. I can't really enjoy playing as evil characters in games unless I can justify their behaviour and understand the character; so being a Renegade in Mass Effect is easy because they're realistic (they'll get the job done at all costs)- but being a "I'm a selfish git who kicks puppies and always picks the evil answer" from most RPGs doesn't really work because it's not something I can comprehend the mindset of.

      Which is pretty interesting.

      On a semi-related note, has anyone else noticed that users with pot themed titles, emblems and usernames in Modern Warfare 2 (and I guess in general) are usually the least mellow people in the room? Not necessarily hostile or any one emotion, but if their headset is on they're angry, obnoxious, loudly voicing their frustration, etc.

        as far as I'm concerned, anyone with 'joint ops' is a toolio englesius.

    what about if they were in brown or grey robes?

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