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Virtual Selves Can Help Boost Better Real World Health, Exercise Habits

(Penn State) Customizing an avatar to better resemble its human user may lead to improved health and exercise behaviors, according to a team of researchers…
The act of customizing an avatar seems to create a personal connection between people and their virtual alter egos and sticks with them in real life, said [S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory].
"Perhaps more important, there is the sense of agency we get from being able to shape our online persona," added Sundar. "This agentic feeling transfers over to our offline motivations and actions."
Waddell said that online health and diet counselors could one day use this avatar customization technique to reinforce advice and treatment for their clients.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.