Keywords

Avatars (Virtual reality), Self disclosure, Strangers, Trust, Virtual reality

Abstract

This study investigated the development of trust between strangers interacting via avatars in virtual worlds. The first part of the study analyzed perceived trustworthiness based on the visual appearance of avatars; the second part makes observations of two strangers self-disclosing information via avatars in a virtual world; the third part analyzed an experimental situation of two individuals interacting via avatars, where avatar appearance was changed and participants were recruited based on their experience with interacting with others via avatars. Findings showed that perceived trustworthiness does vary based on the visual appearance of the avatar. A positive relationship was found for self-disclosure and experience, in that those who have previously chosen to participate in a virtual world were more likely to share more detailed information about themselves. Non-significant differences in self-disclosure were found for avatar appearance; however, experience in using virtual worlds was significantly different for the willingness to share information before engaging in a task: experienced participants shared more information than inexperienced participants. This suggests that self-disclosure might be influenced by appearance at the point of formation in that the experienced are willing to overlook the avatar, and less so when there are other sources of information to base trust-behavior on (Altman & Taylor, 1973; Nowak & Rauh, 2006). Recommendations were made for modifications for similar experiments trying to validate an objective measure of trust, and for continued research in the development of trust between strangers interacting via avatars.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2012

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Sims, Valerie

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology; Human Factors Psychology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0004291

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0004291

Language

English

Release Date

May 2012

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Psychology Commons

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