Abstract

3D virtual environments (VEs) can induce parasocial interaction (PSI) and strong feelings of social presence through interactive communication among avatars. Throughout this research, PSI was operationally defined as the extent of VE users' interpersonal involvement with other avatars and perception of themselves as interacting with the other virtual actors in the environment. Self-construal refers to an individual's view of self. Self-construals play an important role in shaping PSI in interactive media environments. After proposing a typology of the self, the experiment in this study empirically examined the influence of users' interdependent self-construals on their feelings of social presence and PSI with a recommendation avatar in avatar-based communication within the 3D VE of Second Life (SL). The results revealed that people with high interdependent self-construals experience closer PSI with a recommendation avatar and feel stronger social presence in SL than people with low interdependent self-construals. A path analysis also demonstrated that social presence mediates the effects of users' self-construals on their PSI with a recommendation avatar in VEs.

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