Conjuring the Ideal Self: an Investigation of Self-Presentation in Video Game Avatars

  • Holly Maxwell Pringle University of Glasgow


Self-presentation in online spaces has recently attracted a significant amount of attention in psychological literature. Video games allow players to create a detailed, unique character to represent themselves in the online social world. Research has found that there is a relationship between self-esteem and online self-presentation. However, little research has examined gender differences within this topic. The study aimed to address this gap in the literature by specifically examining gender differences in avatar creation, plus how this extends to gameplay choices, while confirming the previously noted effects of self-esteem on avatar creation. 40 participants created an avatar in The Elder Scrolls Online and completed questionnaires on General Self-Esteem, Body Self-Esteem plus an evaluation of their avatar. Results found that self-esteem predicted perceived avatar similarity, males and females engaged in the same amount of self-presentation, and gender affected class choice. Limitations and directions of future research are discussed.


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