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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|29920||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 28, Issue 4, July 2012, Pages 1356–1364
The self-discrepancy between one’s actual self and one’s ideal self, which is associated with negative emotional states (e.g., depression) or unhealthy lifestyles (e.g., eating disorders), is mostly caused and intensified by exposure to unrealistic images of others (e.g., celebrities or magazine models). Drawing from regulatory focus theory, the current study examines whether creating self-resembling avatars, especially those that resemble our ideal selves, could counteract this negative effect of self-discrepancy. The results of a between-subject experiment (N = 95) indicated that user-created self-reflecting avatars made salient different mental images of their bodies based on whether they customized their avatars to look like their actual or ideal selves, and consequently influenced their perceptions toward their physical body through two different self-regulatory systems (i.e., promotion-focused and prevention-focused), with consequences for health outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Self-perception of one’s physical body is highly associated with one’s emotional state as well as health behaviors. In particular, negative self-perceptions about one’s body image can cause depression and, in turn, lead to negative health behaviors, such as eating disorders, substance use, and negative lifestyle choices, including unhealthy diets and lack of exercise (Harrison & Cantor, 2001). Body image is a self-perception defined by how an individual “thinks” and “feels” about his/her looks or how he/she “wants” to look (Alipoor, Goodarzi, Nezhad, & Zaheri, 2009). It is a subjective perception about one’s physical body image. No matter how skinny or fat an individual is, how one views his/her body shape determines his/her dissatisfaction with body image. Previous studies have shown that most women tend to see themselves as overweight and feel less happy with their body shape ( Cash and Henry, 1995 and Cash et al., 1986). In fact, the issue of body dissatisfaction has been more pronounced among women than men ( Demarest & Allen, 2000). Most male participants in studies of body-shape perceptions rated their current body figures as ideal ( Leon, Carroll, Chernyk, & Finn, 1985) and were relatively satisfied with their current body shape ( Fallen & Rozin, 1985). However, recent evidence suggests that body dissatisfaction is becoming increasingly prevalent among men as well ( Adams et al., 2005 and Garner, 1997). According to self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987), body dissatisfaction is mainly caused by a discrepancy between one’s current actual image and his/her ideal image. Several scholars have noted that cultural preferences for a slender body can be attributed to increased discrepancy between one’s actual and ideal body (Cash & Henry, 1995), and that mass media have played a critical role in creating unrealistic ideal body images and altering individuals’ perceptions of their body shape (Harrison and Cantor, 2001, Myers and Biocca, 1992, Tiggemann and Mcgill, 2004 and Tiggemann and Slater, 2004). In other words, individuals tend to internalize most ideal body images based on their exposure to unrealistic images of celebrities and models on TV and magazines. This internalization can cause negative emotional states and lead to decreased motivation and self-efficacy to achieve body-related goals, resulting in negative health behaviors (Higgins, 1987). In an effort to prevent such unhealthy behaviors caused by actual/ideal body discrepancy, we tested the effectiveness of creating a virtual character as a self-representative (i.e., avatar) in a virtual environment for helping motivate people to achieve their ideal body image and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There is growing interest among scholars and health practitioners in the use of virtual experiences through avatars in virtual environments (VEs) as a therapeutic tool (Boulos et al., 2007 and Weiss et al., 2003). VE is a real-time computer-generated 3-D environment. It simulates a real environment, so users feel presence (i.e., the feeling of physically being in the environment) and can experience things that they have never experienced before or could potentially experience in the future (Wald & Taylor, 2000). Indeed, VE has become an effective therapy tool for treating various kinds of phobias, such as spider phobias (Carlin et al., 1997 and Garcia-Palacios et al., 2002), anxiety (Parsons & Rizzo, 2008), social phobias (e.g., fear of playing a musical instrument in a concert) (Klinger et al., 2005), acrophobia (Paul, Bruynzeel, Drost, & van der Mast, 2001), public speaking phobias (Pertaub, Slater, & Barker, 2001), and driving phobias (Wald & Taylor, 2000). Given that VEs allow users to explore and interact with the virtual world through their self-created avatars, users are able to see themselves (in the form of their self-representations) from a third-person perspective. This has been shown to influence the avatar user’s self-confidence and self-disclosure (Yee & Bailenson, 2007), the reduction of negative stereotyping (Yee & Bailenson, 2006), and exercise behaviors (Fox & Bailenson, 2009). These studies demonstrate that avatar users feel somewhat connected to their self-representing avatars while interacting through them and that the avatars’ physical appearances may, in turn, influence the avatar users’ real-world behaviors. We extend this line of reasoning to investigate whether avatars resembling the user’s ideal self can serve to reduce the actual/ideal self-discrepancy and therefore positively affect their motivation to maintain healthy behaviors.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
To check the effectiveness of the avatars’ attractiveness, participants’ ratings of perceived attractiveness of their avatars were entered into a series of simple t-tests. The results showed that participants who were assigned attractive avatars rated their avatars to be significantly more socially desirable (M = 4.18, SD = 1.66), attractive to others (M = 4.90, SD = 1.58), and attractive to themselves (M = 4.25, SD = 1.71) than participants who were assigned unattractive avatars (M = 2.37; t (25) = 3.28, p < .01, M = 2.37; t (25) = −4.55, p < .01, and M = 2.18; t (49) = 5.42, p < .01, respectively). In addition, participants who customized their avatars to look like their desired self rated their avatars to be more socially desirable (M = 6.25, SD = 0.75), attractive to others (M = 6.08, SD = 0.67), and attractive to themselves (M = 5.89, SD = 1.03) than participants who customized their avatars to look like their actual self (M = 4.79; t (24) = 3.54, p < .01, M = 4.71; t (24) = 3.65, p < .01, and M = 4.11; t (42) = 4.46, p < .01, respectively). Overall, these results showed that avatar attractiveness across the four conditions was successfully manipulated.