Projecting self and increasing telepresence by merging identites

Kevin Scott Smith

Abstract


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of perspective-taking instructions (PTI) on (a) the tendency to project aspects of the self onto a video game character and (b) the degree of “telepresence” within a virtual world.  Perspective taking instructions encourage subjects to imagine themselves as a story character.  It has been found in the past that PTI may cause an individual to merge identities with a story character in written stories1 and films2. This study replicated these findings using a video game. Male video gamers played a video game and completed character trait measures about themselves and about the game character.   Subjects given perspective-taking instructions (PTI) had more overlap in the character traits ascribed to themselves and the character than did control subjects.  PTI did not significantly impact telepresence. Positive and negative implications of these findings are discussed.


Keywords


Videogames; Telepresence; Merging Identities

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