Bailenson, J.N., Blascovich, J., & Guadagno, R.E. (2008). Self representations in immersive virtual environments. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 11, pp. 2673-2690.
This experiment varied whether individuals interacted with virtual representations of themselves or of others in an immersive virtual environment. In the self-representation condition, half of the participants interacted with a self-representation that bore photographic resemblance to them, whereas the other half interacted with a self-representation that bore no resemblance to them. In the other-representation condition, participants interacted with a representation of another individual. The experimental design was a 2 (Participant Gender) × 3 (Agent Identity: high-similarity self-representation vs. low-similarity self-representation vs. other representation). Overall, participants displayed more intimacy-consistent behaviors for representations of themselves than others. Implications of using immersive virtual environment technology for studying the self are discussed.