Personal Boundaries in a virtual world

America’s National Public Radio (NPR) is running a story on SL called Don’t Stand So Close to Me. It looks specifically at the issue of personal space in SL and there’s some interesting, if not surprising results:

1. Male avatars tend to keep more distance from each other than when interacting with a female avatar

2. That there’s a natural tendency for users of SL to maintain real-life personal space boundaries

3. That the level of eye contact is intrinsically linked to personal space

npr.jpg

The premise is that these issues are both hard-wired and ingrained in our real-life social behaviour that they naturally flow over to SL. As the social behaviour expert says in the interview – we’re not as free as we moght think we are in a virtual world. It’s also another example of how SL provides ample opportunity for human behaviour research.

Comments

  1. Perhaps it’s also interesting to see the over-complicated justifications academics concoct to spend time in Second Life?

    I keep my distance in SL so I get a better view of the av’s around me, not because I’m threatened by their physical presence – they have none!

    Eye contact in SL is NOT eye contact – it’s mouse movement. So beyond that moment you click on an av’ to check their profile it really means nothing – u could appear to be staring at your friends boobs when you’re actually checking your email!

    SL is definitely a fascinating social playground but how about some proper research?

  2. Perhaps it’s also interesting to see the over-complicated justifications academics concoct to spend time in Second Life?

    I keep my distance in SL so I get a better view of the av’s around me, not because I’m threatened by their physical presence – they have none!

    Eye contact in SL is NOT eye contact – it’s mouse movement. So beyond that moment you click on an av’ to check their profile it really means nothing – u could appear to be staring at your friends boobs when you’re actually checking your email!

    SL is definitely a fascinating social playground but how about some proper research?

  3. Its very interesting, to watch people in SL interacting in clubs. You can see the guys drinking and standing around the outside of the dance floor, usually see 1 bloke sitting alone at the bar, and the girls dancing in groups on the dancefloor( they would have their handbags in front of them on the floor if they could). I also get a laugh when some poor shy guy is trying to talk his way out of a pole dancers advances.
    Wonder what voice ability will do when it comes soon….I thing it will change SL forever… try it in beta..Its an amazing experience and works extremely well.

  4. Its very interesting, to watch people in SL interacting in clubs. You can see the guys drinking and standing around the outside of the dance floor, usually see 1 bloke sitting alone at the bar, and the girls dancing in groups on the dancefloor( they would have their handbags in front of them on the floor if they could). I also get a laugh when some poor shy guy is trying to talk his way out of a pole dancers advances.
    Wonder what voice ability will do when it comes soon….I thing it will change SL forever… try it in beta..Its an amazing experience and works extremely well.

  5. Earnest Candour says:

    Eric, even though eye contact in SL is not EXACTLY the same as in RL, there’s something to this, particularly if you are in mouselook. I’ve experienced it myself inworld and seen it in others. Here’s some anecdotal evidence (notice Pierce’s reaction at 01:10 in this clip)

    EC:/>

  6. Earnest Candour says:

    Eric, even though eye contact in SL is not EXACTLY the same as in RL, there’s something to this, particularly if you are in mouselook. I’ve experienced it myself inworld and seen it in others. Here’s some anecdotal evidence (notice Pierce’s reaction at 01:10 in this clip) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHctNko8tQo

    EC:/>

  7. wolfie rankin says:

    If I blow a very odourous fart, one of those big red, yellow and green, cloud producing ones…

    People back away. 🙂

    Wolfie!

  8. wolfie rankin says:

    If I blow a very odourous fart, one of those big red, yellow and green, cloud producing ones…

    People back away. 🙂

    Wolfie!

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