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Dubbing this the Proteus Effect, Yee studied the degree to which avatar appearance influences virtual behavior.
To test this, Yee created avatars of varying degrees of attractiveness for subjects in the lab, and then allowed them to interact in Second Life. “Attractive avatars are friendlier, and more revealing about themselves,” he said.
Unlike many MMORGs, there is no specific objective or mission that denizens of Second Life must achieve. They go shopping, go out on dates and get married, attend concerts, have jobs.
In fact, many residents are making money in real life from the work they are doing in Second Life. dollars for Lindens, the currency of Second Life, via currency exchange websites. In April 2007, over 34,000 unique users had a positive monthly Linden flow from selling their Second Life wares.
“And taller avatars bargain more aggressively than shorter avatars.” Peter Yellowlees, professor of psychiatry and director of academic information systems at the University of California, Davis, uses Second Life to simulate schizophrenic hallucinations.
Although he began the project in a virtual 3-D cave, Yellowlees, an international expert on telemedicine and long distance health care, switched to Second Life because he wanted to make it more accessible to users and Second Life was “the best around.” Yellowlees interviewed three schizophrenic patients and recorded information about their specific hallucinations.
The original features that were to be implemented were the abilities to co-own land as well as one person being able to change their last name to the others.
As a psychology researcher, imagine being able to get a group of people together in a social environment where they are able to relax and be themselves, but where one can still collect data.
In 1999, Philip Rosedale formed Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, with the goal of creating a revolutionary three-dimensional shared experience.
Residents of Second Life can "partner" with other residents.
A partnership can signify marriage, dating, or even friendship.
Users describe Second Life as a world of endless possibilities, where if you can imagine it, it can happen.
Avatars, the digital representations of human gamers, can do everything that people can do and more; they eat, sleep, buy houses, form relationships, and also fly and teleport.
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With the help of actors, artists, and computer programmers, and with continued feedback from patients, Yellowlees reconstructed the hallucinations in Second Life.