Identity Manipulation — What Happens When Identity Presentation is Not Truthful

Segovia, K.Y. & Bailenson, J.N. (2013). Identity Manipulation—What Happens When Identity Presentation is Not Truthful. In Amichai-Hamburger Y. (Ed.), The Social Net: Understanding Our Online Behavior, Oxford University Press, 45-61.


Imagine a world where another person could choose to look like you — exactly like you.  Effortlessly donning your clothes, hairstyle, skin tone, even the subtleties of your facial characteristics, this individual could parade as you in countless interactions with others.  Cyberspace, through avatar-based interactions, makes this phenomenon possible. Many scholars describe avatars and virtual worlds as opportunities for individuals to safely and constructively explore their identities.  But what happens when identity exploration goes wrong?