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Such leading questions could cause results to be distorted by demand characteristics and social desirability bias (Fisher, 1993; Orne, 1962). For example, users who did not give much thought to their selection of a particular avatar attribute may believe that they did so when prompted by a leading question, or they may simply give the answer they think the researcher expects to hear. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10, 615-619. Individuals may not always be aware of this motivation yet may still attempt to influence the way others perceive them by enhancing their qualities or controlling the presentation of information about themselves, particularly in contexts where misrepresentation is unlikely to be detected.A growing body of literature connects social behaviour in the virtual world to the real world (e.g.While online virtual worlds undoubtedly allow people to simply exercise their creative ability, most avatar-rich online environments (Second Life, World of Warcraft, etc.) have a substantial social element to them. It is not surprising that the drive for enhanced self-presentation can lead some users to create an improved version of themselves within these virtual worlds because they can do so with little risk of detection. Gender differences in social consequences of perceived overweight in the United States and Australia.

While Second Life does contain some video game elements (i.e. specific goals and challenges), it is also a large open environment with relatively unrestricted social interaction. As such, it encourages users to interact with each other as they please. Both can convey messages and both can be subject to impression management. Measurement of body size and shape perception in eating-disordered and control observers using body-shape software. If chat rooms and SNS profiles are akin to active, direct communication, then avatars are akin to passive or indirect communication allowing users to present themselves as they see fit.

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