The Fake You Could Motivate The Real You

I believe my avatar can fly

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Some interesting studies at Stanford are exploring how virtual avatars impact human behavior. If that sounds too academic, let me put it this way: how the digital version of you inspires or alters the perception of the real version of you.

A series of studies found that watching a self-created avatar exercise and achieve expedited time-lapse results may motivate a person to actually, you know, exercise. Similarly, people who create an avatar that is actually a more attractive version of themselves seem to view themselves as more attractive and thus more likely to score out of their leagues, so to speak.

Though some are skeptical about the long-term effect—Mike Masnick brings up the short-term emotional effect playing video games has on kids—the research could give valuable insight into how a sense of self is a key motivator.

It reminds me of a basketball coach who told us to imagine ourselves making free-throws before actually taking the shot. In that vein, the study seems to back up other visualization philosophies, a la Norman Vincent Peele’s The Power of Positive Thinking, or more recently, The Secret.

Or, to ruin it, R. Kelly’s If-I-can-see-it-then-I-can-do-it believe in yourself epic ballad.  


The Fake You Could Motivate The Real You
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