February 18, 2015

Christelle Williams

Williams, Christelle

Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • Michael Dawson, Ph.D.

Department

  • Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

McNair Project

The Effects of Avatar Customization and Point of View on Psychophysiological Arousal and Self-Report Responses
Abstract
This study examines the effects of avatar customization and point of view on psychophysiological, presence, and self-reported valence and arousal responses. Male participants played an online game with a customized avatar and an assigned avatar in the 1st and 3rd person point of view. Heart rate, skin conductance, and respiration data were recorded during gameplay and a presence and Self-Assessment Manikin questionnaire were given after each of the four gameplay sessions. Although the study sample size was not large enough to run statistical analyses for psychophysiology variables, the results showed an interaction for the effect of avatar condition and POV on presence, with higher reported presence scores when participants played with a customized avatar in the 1st point of view. This study is a modified replication of a study by Lim and Reeves (2009) and has educational and clinical implications, in addition to providing valuable knowledge for game developers.