Monday, November 12, 2012

What Uniform do You Wear?

We are exploring avatars and the effects of uniforms on people's actions in The Virtual Church with Professor Ralph Watkins.  The book Infinite Reality shows the effects of the digital world on people's minds and feelings.  If people use taller avatars, they behave differently than with shorter avatars.  If their digital selves are more attractive than they perceive themselves in the "real world," they act with more confidence and openness in the virtual realm than in real life.  Even in the immediate universe, uniforms are shown to have a measurable effect on people's actions and behaviors.  In a 1970's study, people were randomly dressed in nurses' uniforms or KKK robes.  The people in nurses' uniforms displayed mardedly more compassion and concern for their fellow man than those dressed as Klan members, even though most if not all of the participants were neither nurses nor Klan members in real life.  Football teams wearing dark colors are given more penalties than their festive colored opponents on the field.  People wearing darker colors such as police or military uniforms select more aggressive pastimes to engage in; whether in the digital or physical world.

The point is not that virtual reality will completely reshape human thought processes, but that humans have always behaved different depending on their circumstances.  People are like social sponges; taking in their cues for behavior and interraction from their surrounding environments.  The virtual world is not a place to be especially on guard against behavior modification, it is simply another place among many.  The virtual world will not change its inhabitants; it will provide a medium for our true characters to be revealed.  The virtual world is one example in millions of how we adapt to changing circumstances in our daily lives.  In fact it does not create new behaviors or thought patterns; it simply reveals who we are.  

1 comment:

  1. How will church adapt? How must the church dress itself to serve in this age? What are we to look like? Can we look the same in a new world?