What Is Daedalus, Why Should We Care?

The Daedalus Project is something to keep an eye out for. Introducing Nick Yee, who just happens to be a research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Yee and his colleagues recently commenced a project to conduct a rather ambitious study of the World of Warcraft. In particular, they’re trying to find out what our behaviors in WoW reveal about who we are in Real Life.

Not surprisingly, this research has garnered great interest in the media. It’s become rather high profiled, you can say. With this grand project, in which the research into the psychology and sociology of MMORPGs integrated with the social media technology of gaming, it has collected survey data from over 40,000 game players. The research that has resulted from these interviews has been cited extensively by game scholars, game developers, and popular media, so much so that research has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and CNN International, among the number of media outlets.

Yee’s journey into the world of MMORPG’s began when he started researching EverQuest in 2000. Interestingly enough, Yee’s graduate work took him into the world of avatars, particularly how appearance of an avatar can change how the user behaves both inside and outside the virtual environment.

As he reveals in an example, in a:

series of several studies, we found that users in taller avatars negotiate more aggressively in the virtual environment and that this behavior carries over to other social interactions outside of the virtual environment. We dubbed this “the Proteus Effect”.

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