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Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:42 pm UTC
by Ian Ex Machina
Many of you lovely fora goers have avatars, and eyes with which to see others avatars.
These avatars may be of you, or your favourite picture, or just something unexpected.

My questions to you are, do the avatar's of others affect how you perceive them and their posts to a high degree?
Or do you visualise the avatar (or a mental reconstruction of the avatar) when reading the person's posts?

Personally, I imagine the person with the avatar 'talking' when reading the posts, and I suppose this affects my perception, for example when reading a post by Zohar (Who has an avatar of a keyhole looking monument with energy around it?) it makes me perceive him/the post as more mystic, compared to Meaux_Pas (Who has that small mushroom thing) where I perceive them as cute and small and a mushroom.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:49 pm UTC
by JayDee
Sometimes a persons avatar warps my perception of someones posts a little. Really annoying ones do this.

More often, though, it's a convenient focus for whatever impression of someone that I get from their posts.

If someone has no avatar, I tend to have trouble associating them with their posts.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:50 pm UTC
by parkaboy
don't be fooled by my avatar; i do not have a bunny.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:54 pm UTC
by Ian Ex Machina
@Jaydee: Yeh I find it harder to associate people without avatars and their post, as I presumeably tie post style and avatar into the one joint perception, without the avatar the process is harder, maybe.

@parkaboy: But it is a cute bunny, do you have two hats at least?

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:06 pm UTC
by Belial
Avatars shape my perception of someone in only really two ways:

-If they don't have one, I'm more likely to forget who they are.

-If they have an exceptionally annoying one, I'm more likely to perceive them as annoying.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:09 pm UTC
by Pirate.Bondage
Belial wrote:Avatars shape my perception of someone in only really two ways:

-If they don't have one, I'm more likely to forget who they are.

-If they have an exceptionally annoying one, I'm more likely to perceive them as annoying.


Same here. The avatars give me an idea as to what the person is like.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:11 pm UTC
by Felstaff
I love my avatar because it is an image for me to aspire to. It reminds my of a Stephen Fry book "The Hippopotamus", which has the following blurb line:
Ted Wallace is an old, sour, womanising, cantankerous, whisky-sodden beast of a failed poet and drama critic, but he has his faults too.

I hope that by constant drinking I one day become this man. He is truly a grizzled legend.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:14 pm UTC
by lowbart
I've had a harder time than usual learning who people are in this forum because I keep avatars turned off. I mostly read the forum when I'm at school, so I turn off avatars to avoid attracting attention.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:15 pm UTC
by antonfire
One effect that I'm aware of is that I sometimes find out a poster's gender. While I don't consciously let a person's gender determine how I act towards em, I suspect that my actions do depend on it somewhat.

Also, an avatar that demonstrates knowledge of mathematics will generally tend to make me respect the poster's mathematical ability more, and analogously for other things.

I'm sure there are also countless effects that I'm simply not aware of.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:23 pm UTC
by tiny
I experience an improved memorability of users with avatars as well.
My perception of posts isn't too much affected by the impression a user's avatar makes.
I still feel a little (initial) cognitive dissonance, though, when there's a huge discrepancy between the style of a person's post and what I'd expect after having seen their avatar.
But the post's impact on me overweighs that of the avatar.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:24 pm UTC
by MFHodge
Avatars have a lot more effect on me when I don't have a good mental image of what the person actually looks like. And of course they do feed into first impressions, since it is a picture that a person has chosen to represent some aspect of themself.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:45 pm UTC
by Angelene
I miss my old avatar. I'm always surprised to see Ms Harvey's portrait in its place.

I'm going to echo previous sentiments and say that avatars only really affect my perception of a person if they're
1. Horribly annoying and so the person is thus working at an instant disadvantage or
2. Relevant to something I love and thus the person is working at instant advantage.

Otherwise, they bother me little except to help me keep track of the more regular posters.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:50 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce.....

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:53 pm UTC
by I Am Raven
Oh me yarm! (Sorry for that) Thta is indeed exactly how I read it! When I read a post of SecondTalon, I always keep in the back of my mind "Words of a 25-30 year old girl who's pretty attractive and has an IQ of between 115-120" although he's male...

Also: @SecondTalon, couldn't you at least go through the trouble of using only ONE capitol "B" for bounce. So It wouldn't be "Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce Bounce ...etc" But something like "Bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce ... etc." :?:

AGAIN @SecondTalon: What the fuckadoodledoo is your avatar?!

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:05 pm UTC
by Cheese
I don't make a conscious decision about most people based on their avatars (although I guess that there is some subliminal 'first impression' thing going on), and generally just associate each avatar with the person posting. I still notice people without avatars, and don't think I forget these people any more than those with them.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:08 pm UTC
by Savoy_Truffle
It appears to be a live version of Sailor Moon -- also, whenever I look at SecondTalon's avatar, I invariably hear music in time with the Bounce, Bounce, Bounce.... ^^x

Also, in terms of gender, I feel like my avatar makes it reasonably obvious that I'm a girl, but then, I'm at the distinct advantage of knowing for sure. <3

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:11 pm UTC
by TheTankengine
I am, in fact, David Hasselhoff. I enjoy swimming with my arms to my side, and bobbing.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:13 pm UTC
by ZeroSum
My avatar is accurate. I do not exist. I am a figment of the imagination.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:15 pm UTC
by no-genius
I like your avatar. Its my favourite.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:21 pm UTC
by Cheese
Okay, as a few other people have clarified whether or not their avatars are truly representative of their RL selves:
My avatar is of me. I am really a wheel of cheese balanced on top of a body (also made of cheese). I would like to confess, though, that I have never worn the santa hat in the picture; it was painted* on.

*As in, I used MSpaint. I considered saying 'photoshopped', then realised that that would be inaccurate.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:28 pm UTC
by d3adf001
i remember the avatar more than names. like just now i had no clue who the person that made this was then i saw the pink cowboy hat and knew who it was

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:49 pm UTC
by I Am Raven
TheTankengine wrote:I am, in fact, David Hasselhoff. I enjoy swimming with my arms to my side, and bobbing.

You know, for a moment I believed you! :mrgreen:

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:56 pm UTC
by Aleril
Belial wrote:-If they have an exceptionally annoying one, I'm more likely to perceive them as annoying.


Oddly enough it happens in reverse. If I find the person annoying I find the avatar annoying.

Sometimes.

Also, I find that in avatars, bigger is better.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:58 pm UTC
by Nebulae
WHY HELLO THAR EARTHIANS, care to join me in this quadrant of the galaxy? We have cardassianscookies.

But yes, absolutely. Avatars have a huuuuuuuge influence on perception, and I dare say you associate the avatar more than the name. That being said, I need to change my avatar. Preferably to something less abstract, and more wacky.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:01 pm UTC
by Seven
I Am Raven wrote:AGAIN @SecondTalon: What the fuckadoodledoo is your avatar?!

It reminds me of something from http://engrish.com/ -- translation faux pas combined with ignorance of terms: A sweatshirt with a rainbow on it and the words "I hate myself and want to die."

.....If we don't read kanji, how do we know they're not doing the same thing to us??

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:10 pm UTC
by Echodork
Yes, I remember who people are by their avatar first and their name second. Visual, then intellectual recognition. And I use the mana screw avatar because I use it on a couple forums and it makes it easy to find my posts when I'm looking for replies :)

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:16 pm UTC
by Kineticka
Echodork wrote:Yes, I remember who people are by their avatar first and their name second. Visual, then intellectual recognition. And I use the mana screw avatar because I use it on a couple forums and it makes it easy to find my posts when I'm looking for replies :)

You know. Now that I know what your avatar stands for, it's almost unbearably funny to me. :) I get the feeling that I should have picked up on it somehow or another, but ah well.

As far as avatars go for me, I tend determine whether a user is annoying or not by post content, and then have the positive or negative connotation tacked on to their respective avatars. I'm a little guilty of losing track of people who don't have avatars. :(

I'm relatively hard to piss off, though. As a general rule, you probably have to make a conscious effort to make me regard you as annoying.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:26 pm UTC
by Kithplana
Avatars help me sort out who's who. I could remember without them, but that little square of visualization lends itself to closer-to-instant recognition.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:29 pm UTC
by ++$_
I don't have an avatar. I tend to think of people without avatars as either my blood brothers/sisters (although it seems like nearly all the avatarless are men), or as spambots.

I react in very unpredictable ways to avatars (which may be why I have none). For example, ST's, despite being an animated gif, is only slightly annoying (actually, the fact that it's pink is more annoying than the fact that it's moving). Ian's, though pink, is not annoying. The most annoying avatar of an active poster on the fora belongs to Anpheus (no offense meant).

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:38 pm UTC
by Azrael001
I rely on the avatars to know who is who, I have even noticed that I will recognize someone from many posts, only to realize that I have never actually read their name. (I am like this in real life as well, it is irritating.)

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:46 pm UTC
by Aleril
Also, I have always come off as indecisive with constantly changing my avatar/signature/wallpaper etcetc.

It's not my fault, there are just too many good ones out there!

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:51 pm UTC
by ++$_
Aleril wrote:Also, I have always come off as indecisive with constantly changing my avatar/signature/wallpaper etcetc.
No. No. No. Don't ever do it again. Gah!

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:55 pm UTC
by MFHodge
++$_ wrote:I don't have an avatar.

Your "username" has a recognizable shape that pretty much acts as an avatar by itself.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:58 pm UTC
by Aleril
VTHodge wrote:
++$_ wrote:I don't have an avatar.

Your "username" has a recognizable shape that pretty much acts as an avatar by itself.


I always saw it as a name for an Aphex twin or Radiohead song.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:30 pm UTC
by Izawwlgood
Regardless of what you may believe, I am actually posting from Mars. Its sort of lonely.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
by El Senor Fruit Swing
VTHodge wrote:
++$_ wrote:I don't have an avatar.

Your "username" has a recognizable shape that pretty much acts as an avatar by itself.

My name doesn't act as my avatar.. your crazy

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:05 pm UTC
by wery67564
I like to use my banksy made avatar as a sociopolitical release.

Plus one of these days someone is going to actually think I am a crossdressing monkey.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:08 pm UTC
by Amnesiasoft
Belial wrote:Avatars shape my perception of someone in only really two ways:

-If they don't have one, I'm more likely to forget who they are.

-If they have an exceptionally annoying one, I'm more likely to perceive them as annoying.

Add my vote for this feeling on avatars and posts.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:10 pm UTC
by MFHodge
El Senor Fruit Swing wrote:
VTHodge wrote:
++$_ wrote:I don't have an avatar.

Your "username" has a recognizable shape that pretty much acts as an avatar by itself.

My name doesn't act as my avatar.. your crazy

How did you possibly construe that I was refering to you when I quoted ++$_?

Also: My crazy what? Finish your sentance.

Re: Avatars and Perception

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:12 pm UTC
by El Senor Fruit Swing
VTHodge wrote:
El Senor Fruit Swing wrote:
VTHodge wrote:
++$_ wrote:I don't have an avatar.

Your "username" has a recognizable shape that pretty much acts as an avatar by itself.

My name doesn't act as my avatar.. your crazy

How did you possibly construe that I was refering to you when I quoted ++$_?

I didn't I found it funny? Were your referring to me.?

Edit:
You're**