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    Please keep off the grass: individual norms in virtual worlds

    HCI2012 - People & Computers XXVI

    Proceedings of HCI 2012
    The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction

    Birmingham, UK, 12 - 14 September 2012


    Katrina Samperi, Russell Beale & Nick Hawes


    This paper looks at how personal conventions are unintentionally carried from the real world into virtual environments. We look at a simple example where we investigate whether avatars will follow virtual paths, or will walk on the grass. By default, people use the paths in real world parks, but we have showed that this behaviour has carried over into virtual parks.We investigated this further, postulating that the more exposure an individual had to virtual worlds the more likely they were to break with this social convention and walk on the grass. We observed the movements of agents in a virtual park on two extended occasions, one in 2010 and the other in 2012. From this we were able to see that people, in general, were still keeping to the paths except when invited to move onto the grass. We also look at the likelihood of individuals using another mode of transport, flying. Finally, we conclude that while some patterns can be seen between the ‘age’ of the avatar and their movements on or off the path, more investigation must be done.


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