Trust Among the Avatars: Playing Trust Games in a Virtual World, With and Without Textual and Visual Cues

Stephen Atlas, Columbia University, USA
Louis Putterman, Brown University, USA
Residents of the virtual world, Second Life, played a trust game for stakes comparable to “in-world” wages. We find high levels of trust and reciprocity despite high anonymity, suggesting that subjects infuse their avatars with real-world sociality. Pro-social payments in the virtual world were influenced by verbal and visual stimuli, reinforcing that environmental stimuli influence social norms during virtual embodiment.
[ to cite ]:
Stephen Atlas and Louis Putterman (2011) ,"Trust Among the Avatars: Playing Trust Games in a Virtual World, With and Without Textual and Visual Cues", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 38, eds. Darren W. Dahl, Gita V. Johar, and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.