Being yourself to be creative: How using self-similar avatars can support the generation of original ideas in virtual environments

Manon Marinussen, Alwin de Rooij*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperOther research output


Creative idea generation, the generation of original yet effective ideas, can be supported in virtual environments when interactions are facilitated via avatars with an appearance similar to their user, i.e. self-similar avatars. However, it is not known how self-similar avatars support creative idea generation. We propose that self-similarity supports the generation of original ideas, because it (i) increases the identification a user has with its avatar, which (ii) increases positive affect, and (iii) influences the positive affect-original idea generation link. To test this conjecture, an experiment was conducted where people composed their own avatar to be either self-similar or non-self-similar, which they then used to engage in two idea generation tasks presented within a custom virtual environment. The results suggest that using a self-similar rather than a non-self-similar avatar positively influences the generation of original ideas; and that this depends on the influence of self-similarity on the link between identification and positive affect. Thus, this paper contributes a mechanism that explains how self-similar avatars support the generation of original ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
EventACM Creativity and Cognition 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 23 Jun 201926 Jun 2019
Conference number: 12


ConferenceACM Creativity and Cognition 2019
Abbreviated titleCC19
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address



  • Creativity
  • idea generation
  • avatars
  • Virtual reality
  • virtual environments

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