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Group discussion and question (Marwa, Farhat, Alex, and Ashley)

2009 April 7
by Ashley

On Monday’s class we broke into groups to discuss the readings on The Influence of the Avatar on Online Perceptions of Anthropomorphism, Androgyny, Credibility, Homophily, and Attraction and Tinysex and Gender Trouble. My group consisted of Marwa, Farhat, Alex, and myself (Ashley); we focused mostly on the quantitative research and what it tells us about how people perceive the avatars in relation to one another.

We noticed that the selection of avatars given in the reading consisted of those with male characteristics, those with female characteristics, and those that were non-gendered such as a cat, frog, or a bottle. When we compared the stats for each of the avatars in the categories of femininity and masculinity, we noticed that although there were avatars that were gender neutral, they were still categorized as either being male or female.

We found this to be very interesting and the question that came to mind was why do people still attribute a gender to non-gendered avatars? Are people really that uncomfortable with not knowing the gender of an avatar and if this has any influence on which avatars people choose to converse with?

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