Toward a relational matrix model of avatar-mediated interactions

Jaime Banks, Caleb T. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


As immersive digital environments increasingly facilitate social, professional, and playful human interactions, avatars are central to facilitating communication among players; concurrently, evidence points to avatars' distinct agencies. Synthesizing these perspectives, this article proposes and tests a relational matrix model of interactions in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), characterizing interactions traditionally considered dyadic (between two players) instead as tetradic (among two players and their respective avatars). The results from a survey of gamers (N = 220) support the proposed model, demonstrating perceptions of social agency (via explicit and implicit anthropomorphism and electronic propinquity) that are significantly different among the four agents in the matrix. Findings are discussed with respect to further development and implementation of the model and the nature of human-avatar interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Popular Media Culture
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Agency
  • Avatar
  • Embodiment
  • Social agent
  • Social presence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology


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