Adrià Gabarnet, University of Barcelona
Virtual-self Identity Construal in Online Video Games - A Repertory Grid Study Protocol
The Internet, and especially online videogames, seem to have a great impact on the way people construe their identity. People may use online gaming to experience an enhanced version of their self that matches more accurately the attributes they often relate to their ideal self or may even explore completely different alternative selves.
Our project aims to study the role that new technologies have in the way people build their identity nowadays. More specifically, the project intends to study how people use videogame avatars to explore different alternative identities. It could be possible for people to manifest entirely different versions of themselves through their online videogame characters. Sometimes, those alternative identities may even be a projection of what the player considers to be an ideal version of themselves.
Other variables may increase or hinder that capacity to project the ideal self on a customizable “virtual self”; some are inherent to the person, such as cognitive complexity or their level of psychological well-being, while others may be more related to the specific game they play, such as the degree of immersion experienced while playing.
The repertory grid technique will be used to explore online videogame players’ construct systems and to understand their need to explore alternative identities through their videogame characters. Other instruments will also be administrated to measure people’s experienced immersion when playing the game, the aspects of it that are more appealing to them, and their degree of subjective psychological well-being to assess how these variables, among others extracted from the repertory grid, may affect this identity exploration.