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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009 Dec;12(6):723-7. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2008.0289.

Parasocial interaction with my avatar: effects of interdependent self-construal and the mediating role of self-presence in an avatar-based console game, Wii.

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  • 1Department of Communication, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA.


The "self" concept has grown increasingly important in interactive media environments. This study investigated self-related processes in an avatar-based game console, Wii. A key feature of the Wii is its motion-sensing capability that empowers players to manipulate and interact with items on-screen via movement. The present study examined the effects of video game players' self-construal on parasocial interaction with their avatars and feelings of self-presence. In this study, parasocial interaction was operationally defined as the extent of game players' interpersonal involvement with their avatar and the extent to which game players perceive themselves as interacting with the avatar. Self-presence was defined as the degree to which video game players feel as if their avatar on the screen were their real self. Based on an experiment, the study discovered that game players with high interdependent self-construal showed closer parasocial interaction and higher level of self-presence than those with low interdependent self-construal. Results also showed that self-presence mediated the effects of interdependent self-construal on the parasocial relationship with game players' avatars. Thus, the study discovered an important individual difference factor, interdependent self-construal, affecting the degree to which people form a parasocial relationship with their virtual self that is visually manifested in the form of an avatar. In addition, the present study added empirical evidence about the mediating role played by self-presence in avatar-based video games.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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