Dispatches from the imvu scientist on Body Language
I’ve been thinking about imvu versus other ways to talk to people online for a while. One of many things that can make imvu special… Body Language. A lot of how we perceive and interact with the world around us depends on our bodies. In fancy social psychology terms, we have “embodied intelligence.”
A lot of recent experiments have shown the importance of body language. That we use cues from someone’s posture to detect their emotion more than their face. That we can make robots feel alive by giving them body language. That talking to someone on the phone when you just have a photograph of them versus no photograph or someone elses photograph leads to a very different conversation and experience. That just adopting strong body language before an interview makes you more confident and more likely to get the job. That the size and shape and even temperature of the room you meet someone in affects how you perceive that person.I think part of what makes imvu so powerful is that even though it only does this in little ways, they make a big difference.
1) Most obviously is just the items you buy, the clothes you wear, the skin, the face. All of this conveys a lot about you. Something people don’t think about as much is the Avatar you choose, which determines how you stand, how you sit. I think all of that conveys so much, often sub-consciously, about who you are.
2) The dots you click on also matter a lot. There is choice. Little things, but how close you sit, standing versus sitting, cuddling, walking, the type of cuddle, all make a difference in the conversation.
3) Emotes. I think I use emotes a lot. Like a lot alot. Maybe too much. Like ~smiles~ ~giggles~ ~laughs~ ~shrugs~ ~sighs~. Dunno. Pay attention to your body. It does all sorts of little things when you’re not thinking about it. Type it sometimes. I think sometimes gestures say a lot. Imvu encourages this a bit by animating things when you start a line with them: (e.g. here’s a list I found over the years: tired kiss bad good flip zzz score jump leap crazy who what when how sleep yes no nod ooo clap oooh mad ii yay ok loco hm hiya ooooo ag hiya k mad bd smile :) :P grr z hmm choke ;) wink sexy)
4) Mirroring. A lot of social science has shown that when two people are in sync, their body language tends to start to mirror each other. The same has been shown for words. Two people in sync with each other start using the same words, phrases, styles. There are sites that compare how similar two people’s talking patterns are, to find out how in sync they are with each other.
Those are little things. But sometimes the most important body language is the kind you do with someone else, (not just the sexy times) but just being able to sit together, to dance, to hug, to hold, to cuddle, to place your hand casually on their arm, to run your fingers through their hair, those are the most powerful moments in this little world.