In virtual environments, people tend to adapt their behaviour to the appearance of their virtual representation, called the Proteus effect. In two experiments we explored the potential of the Proteus effect to stimulate healthy eating and two moderators, expecting people controlling an overweight avatar to make less healthy food choices and have less healthy eating intentions. Two 2 (Avatar body size: overweight vs. normal-weight) by 2 (Avatar allocation type: self-assigned vs. experimenter-assigned [Study 1]; Visual perspective: first-person vs. third-person [Study 2]) between-subjects designs were employed. We did not find support for the Proteus effect and avatar allocation type did not moderate the effect. However, controlling an overweight avatar resulted in stronger intentions to eat healthy than controlling a normal-weight avatar, but from a third-person perspective only. Hence, perceiving an overweight avatar from a third person perspective may have functioned as a fear-appeal, by showing people future consequences of unhealthy behaviour.
|Publication status||Submitted - 2022|
|Event||Annual Conference of the International Communication Association 2022: One world, one network? - Paris|
Duration: 26 May 2022 → 30 May 2022
|Conference||Annual Conference of the International Communication Association 2022|
|Period||26/05/22 → 30/05/22|