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Title Of humans and avatars: how real world gender practices are brought into World of Warcraft
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree MS
Discipline/Department Literature, Communication, and Culture
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Georgia Tech
Abstract This thesis explores the idea of how people 'do gender' in their online use of avatars, specifically avatar choice. A secondary question of whether or not a chatterbot can be used as a potential interviewer will also be examined as a tool acquiring large amounts of interview data. Gender is one of the ways in which we structure our society, and is completely omnipresent. We cannot opt out of participating in our gender, as we are constantly performing and reaffirming it. Because of this, gender performance and choice spills over into all domains. This includes entertainment such as massively multiplayer online games, both in how the designers make the game, and what the players bring to the game. Deconstructing how and why people engage in these gendered practices and choices becomes an interesting avenue of research, because it allows researchers to partially separate the mental aspects of gender from physical attributes, as the players' physical bodies are not actually in the game. Through the lens of the popular massively multiplayer online game, World of Warcraft, this thesis will utilize a qualitative user research study to understand how gender affects avatar choices. Prior research identified areas where players brought real world gender norms into the games they played. This research study will extend previous research by having players identify why they made the choices they made for their avatars, and how they feel about those choices. The methodology for this study will also involve using a chatterbot as a way of gathering interviews. In normal person-to-person interview studies, recruiting and organizing meetings for these interviews can often be a difficult task. This thesis brings in the idea of using a chatterbot as a mechanism to gather more interviews in a shorter time span to alleviate the problem of getting these one-on-one interviews in some types of studies.
Subjects/Keywords Chat bot; Chatterbot; Interviewing; MMOG; Games; Gender performance; Gender expression; Avatars (Virtual reality); Video games; Choice (Psychology)
Contributors Pearce, Celia (Committee Chair); D'Unger, Amy (Committee Member); Magerko, Brian (Committee Member); Pollock, Anne (Committee Member)
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:1853/39573
Repository gatech
Date Indexed 2020-05-13
Issued Date 2011-04-05 00:00:00
Note [degree] M.S.; [advisor] Committee Chair: Pearce, Celia; Committee Member: D'Unger, Amy; Committee Member: Magerko, Brian; Committee Member: Pollock, Anne;

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…avatar to represent the bot. Chatterbots have been getting exceedingly complex to the point where they can be hard to ‘break’ (or have the bot respond nonsensically). They can ask and answer questions based on responses from the user. Current…

…bots can use instant message programs, forums, chat rooms, and otherwise to talk to people. The Turing Test Before discussing chatterbots, one should first talk about the Turing Test. In his 1950 paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Alan Turing…

…interview techniques. The Current Chatterbot Chatterbot research has found people react positively to chatterbots. A study by Yin et al. placed embodied chatterbots in health centers in an attempt to encourage more walking among adult Latinos. The bot is…

…half coded script and half avatar resembling an older Latino woman. When engaged, the bot starts off with small talk then moves on to counseling the user on his or her exercise habits. Yin’s study found participants who used the chatterbot as an…

…tended to place themselves over the chatterbot: “It emerged that users wanted an asymmetric relationship in which they were the dominant position” (De Angeli et al. 2001, p. 6). Because the bot was not human or ‘alive’ they considered it less…