By Admin | April 24, 2012
By Jorge Ruiz, MD; and Allen D. Andrade, MD
Jorge Ruiz, MD is director of the Laboratory of E-learning and Multimedia Research and associate director for Education and Evaluation. Allen D. Andrade, MD is associate director of the Laboratory of E-learning and Multimedia Research and GRECC Investigator and both are at the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Bruce W. Carter Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, Florida.
Can an avatar that resembles you influence your behavior? There is growing evidence suggesting just that. Manipulating an avatar’s appearance to resemble an individual is now possible. Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford University found that college students reported increases in exercise 24 hours after viewing an avatar resembling them exercising. We investigated whether these findings translate into physical activity gains in sedentary, overweight veterans. We objectively assessed veterans’ levels of physical activity with accelerometers. We randomly assigned them into 1 of 3 groups: viewing an avatar that looked like them exercising, another viewing an avatar of another person exercising, and a third to watch a static figure exercising. Veterans who viewed an avatar resembling themselves exercising significantly improved their physical activity 1 week after the intervention. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357026) [More]