The act of getting naked in a virtual world is something women do much more often than men, says a new study. In fact, the research claims that women often dress their online alter-egos in body-baring outfits and enjoy showing off their character’s nudity.
Matthieu Guitton, of the Laval University in Quebec, authored the study in which researchers followed over 400 virtual characters in the online world simulator game Second Life. The results were published December 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.
Tracking the gamers’ character behavior over the span of several weeks allowed researchers to determine which gender has a higher tendency to reveal skin. Results showed a much higher occurrence of female characters displaying some form of nudity.
News Medical reports that statistically the study found 71 percent of male characters to be dressed in clothing that covered the majority of the body. This is a much higher number than the mere 5 percent of females that dressed conservatively.
In addition, researchers discovered that approximately half of all the female Second Life avatars wore clothing that revealed 25 to 30 percent of their naked skin. Only nine percent of the males observed did the same.
These virtual world observations can be an important learning tool, according to Matthieu Guitton:
“These findings have implications for understanding how sex specific aspects of skin disclosure influence human social interactions in both virtual and real settings. Virtual settings provide a unique tool to study human behavior unhindered by physical and environmental constraints.This tool enabled us to find a dramatic gender difference in the propensity to disclose naked skin.”
An article by ABC News writes that the propensity for nakedness is not restricted to what are typically considered attractive characters. Avatar shape and size did not seem to play a role where nudity was concerned.
The numbers were also not affected by gender in the real world. The statistics held true for the approximately 25 percent of female Second Life characters that were created and played by male gamers.
Have you, or would you, get naked in a virtual world?