Stanford University

The Expression of Personality in Virtual Worlds

Yee, N., Harris, H., Jabon, M., Bailenson, J.N. (2011). The Expression of Personality in Virtual Worlds. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 2 (1), 5-12.

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Abstract

To examine the expression of personality in virtual worlds (VWs), the authors tracked the behavioral and linguistic output of 76 students continuously over a 6-week period in the VW Second Life (SL). Behavioral metrics in SL were consistent over time, but low stabilities were observed for linguistic metrics. To examine the ways in which personality manifested in SL, participant’s Big Five scores were correlated with their virtual behavioral and linguistic metrics. For example, Conscientiousness was correlated with many metrics related to geographical movement; however, there was low overlap with findings from previous studies. The authors provide some reasons for this low concordance. Their study hints at the potential of leveraging VWs to understand the link not only between personality and behavior but also among other social and psychological phenomena as well.

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