Study suggests that fit-looking gaming avatars might motivate gamers to get in shape

Let’s face it – spending long hours on our couch or in front of our computers playing game can hardly be called healthy, but at the same time choosing between our video games and sweating and puffing away at the gym, well that’s an easy choice for most of us (kudos to those who can balance their health and gaming at the same time!). So how do we motivate ourselves then? According to a study done by the University of Missouri by Dr. Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, it seems that there is a link between video game avatars and the player’s physical body, suggesting that players who strongly relate to their avatars on screen can be encouraged to go out and get in shape.

One of the examples provided in the study suggested that as a means to motivate someone to lose weight, creating a fit-looking avatar will help them visualize how they might be able to look like when they reach their goal, which in turn will spur them to take action. Now before you rush off and start creating the buffest or fittest looking avatars the world has ever seen, the study notes that these effects will more likely affect those who participates in virtual worlds for social reasons, as opposed to merely gaming for entertainment or stress relief. What do you guys make of this?

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