Consensus and (lack of) accuracy in perceptions of avatar trustworthiness.

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Date: Jan. 2022
From: Computers in Human Behavior(Vol. 126)
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 297 words

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Abstract :

Keywords Trust; Avatars; Social dilemmas; Judgment and decision making Highlights * We tested whether people can accurately detect trustworthiness in user-generated avatars. * There was between-person agreement (consensus) in ratings of avatar trustworthiness. * Observers were more willing to trust interaction partners with trustworthy appearing avatars. * However, there was no correlation between perceived avatar trustworthiness and the actual trustworthiness of avatar creators. Abstract In some online interactions, people use avatars to represent themselves and judge whether interaction partners should be trusted. However, little is known about human accuracy in perceptions of avatar trustworthiness. We conducted a two-stage study to investigate whether people are able to accurately judge trustworthiness in avatars. In Stage 1, participants created avatars using avatarmaker.com and made decisions as trustees in an incentivized trust game (N = 360 avatars). In Stage 2, a new group of participants (N = 315 raters) were presented with avatars created in Stage 1; rated their trustworthiness; and made decisions about whether to trust them. We observed three main results: First, there was a high level of consensus in perceptions of avatar trustworthiness. Differences in trustworthiness judgments were mainly attributed to differences between avatars (rather than differences between raters). Second, raters' trust decisions were guided by their perceptions of avatar trustworthiness. Third, perceptions of avatar trustworthiness were not associated with actual trustworthiness of avatar creators. People were not, on average, able to accurately identify the actual trustworthiness of avatar creators from avatar appearance. Our results suggest that people erroneously rely on others' avatar appearance in online interactions. Author Affiliation: Tilburg University, the Netherlands * Corresponding author. Department of Social Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. Article History: Received 7 March 2021; Revised 12 July 2021; Accepted 6 September 2021 Byline: Maria Machneva, Anthony M. Evans [A.M.Evans@uvt.nl] (*), Olga Stavrova

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A680015115