My last post explored the link between virtual spending and consumer habits in reality. So is it really possible for the one to influence the other? Here’s a bit more information for you to mull over.
According to research done at the Bailenson Virtual Human Interaction Lab the way you behave in a virtual reality affects behaviour in reality. Time spent in virtual reality blurs the distinction between your virtual and real self. Jeremy Bailenson, a professor at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says that what happens in virtual reality doesn’t necessarily stay there. Experiments in Bailenson’s lab have shown :
That what you experience as your digital doppelgänger lingers after you power down the PC—and bleeds into your real-life identity, at least for a while. His Stanford research team has begun exploring how those virtual experiences might be used to tweak who you are, for better or worse.
It only takes 90 seconds of exposure to a mirror image transformed in age, height or gender to cause drastic changes in behaviour.
Then there is the Proteus Effect. This looks at how the characteristics you adopt in virtual reality are transferable to real life situations. For example someone who is given a tall avatar tends to behave more aggressively in virtual bargaining situations than those with shorter avatars. When the same task was repeated in realty, the person who had the taller avatar still behaved more aggressively.
If having a tall avatar can make you more aggressive in real life then strutting around virtual reality as an emaciated bimbo must affect young girls. And perhaps the creators of Miss Bimbo have finally realised this as they’ve removed the option of giving your virtual bimbo diet pills.
But I’m not convinced. Will this really make a difference? After all, the aim of Miss Bimbo is to keep your bimbo as thin as possible and, as I discuss in my previous post, you are encouraged to spend your virtual money ensuring your character stays that way. If the research from Bailenson Virtual Human Interaction Lab is correct then this virtual spending is likely to influence real world spending.