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Life of Avatars

Date & Time:
12:30:00 - 13:45:00,
Monday 8 October, 2012


Virtual spaces are more and more important in modern societies, and are evolving to become new ‘spaces of life’. This is particularly true for immersive virtual worlds in which humans interact through avatars. Here, we will explore how avatars inhabit these virtual worlds. We will first investigate the avatar creation process and avatar presentation. Then, we will observe avatars in social contact, through the analysis of inter-avatar distance (‘management of space’) and communication. Virtual environments being inherently social spaces, we will then try to understand some of the factors – both internal to the avatar (e.g., the appearance of the avatar) and external (factors of immersion) – supporting virtual group structuring. Finally, we will present an example of how life of avatars in virtual space may impact real space.

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  • Name: Dr Matthieu J. Guitton
  • Affiliation: Laval University, Quebec
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  • Bio: Matthieu J. Guitton is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine of Laval University (Quebec City, QC, Canada) and Senior Researcher / Group Leader in the Department of Integrative Neuroscience of the Institut Universitaire en Santè Mentale de Quèbec. After graduating from the University of Paris and receiving his PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Montpellier (France), he did a postdoctoral fellowship as Koshland Scholar at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) before joining Laval University as Assistant, then Associate Professor. His current research interests are centered on the study of cyberbehaviour (behaviour of humans in virtual spaces, ranging from social dynamics in virtual spaces, virtual communities, and computer-mediated communication, to telemedicine, and Internet addiction). He currently holds a Career Grant from the ‘Fonds de Recherche du Quèbec’ and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the ‘Fonds de Recherche du Quèbec’.