The IMVU Scientist reviews some Stanford research

faster stronger sexier than real life

Somebody shared this scientific article from some researchers at Stanford. Randomly enough, one of the reasons I started with imvu was to do research much like this. So its really neat for me to see what else is out there.

The authors surveyed the imvu community in 2011 and though I have a few methodological quibbles (on the questions they used and the people they sampled), the results are mostly believable and are super neat. The most compelling is that people on imvu were more likely to feel “Happy, Relaxed, Free, Calm, Connected, Excited, Wealthy, Safe, Comfortable, Confident, Creative, Important, and Ambitious.” than in RL where they are more likely to feel “Sad, Stressed, Cautious, Angry, Lonely, Bored, Poor, Scared, Awkward, Insecure, Uninspired, Worthless and Lazy.” Importantly, imvu users are not social misfits escaping reality; the authors of the study found that imvu users reported similar emotions in RL to non-imvu users. In fact imvu users are the lucky ones.
Hahaha we've sucked in Katy and we're not giving her back!

“We also pleasantly surprised to find that there was generally higher reporting of positive feelings both outside and inside of the IMVU environment, suggesting a population that generally considers itself happy, confident and creative… a strong challenge to the negative, antisocial stereotype of users of these communities”

People feel more confident and in control when they are on imvu. This sounds right to me, almost. Power relations and influence games are much more laid bare in imvu. But I mean that in a good way. Yes it leads to drama, but it also has been a nice outlet for the many of us who LIKE to be influenced… to follow.

The authors were initially primarily interested in whether people use imvu to escape or to connect, and hypothesizes they would be able to categorize people into one camp or the other. Unsurprising to me, they find that people come to do both. Imvu is about escape but its also about connections and relationships. This site is all about helping people take advantage of both.

3 responses

  1. collettelilac

    Like I discussed with Kaitie when “I” (Hmphh “Somebody”) sent her the article. lol.
    Of the choices of what “ist” you could choose to be: Escapist, Consumerist, Connectivist, etc. I think I am Crazyist! My favorite part of the study is that we were not lumped in with the worthless and lazy lot! YAY! :)

    April 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  2. oh sorry collette, I didn’t know who it was when I wrote it. and you can’t be crazyist because i’m sure i am.. well maybe ally… :) i did think it was a great find collette. Thanks!

    i do do research in rl, not too different than the stuff in the paper. but about rl stuf, nothing with virtual worlds though i have a few different friends/colleagues who do, so i thot about trying it. i’m interested in identity.

    you’re so right though about it being difficult to re-invent yourself. i’m sure some people do, but despite my best efforts, i pretty much act the same here as i do in rl. but in the end, i embrace that because it has allowed me to make imvu feel so much more real.

    but i’m sure you could re-invent yourself if you wanted to. just like whenever you change schools or change jobs its a chance to redefine yourself at least a little bit.

    oh and nice formatting job kait. normally i’m more on top of that, but you did it beautifully. Thanks!

    April 3, 2013 at 11:56 am

  3. collettelilac

    You know I was just teasing about the “somebody” :) Thanks for the reply, and your view on that. So I guess “you are what you are, and you ain’t what you ain’t”

    April 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm

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