This study attempts to understand how people can promote cognition-based trust in virtual worlds such as Second Life. The effects of the two presentation formats on avatars’ appearance as well as the moderating role of the disclosure of offline identity were examined in a laboratory experiment. The experimental results show that (1) a more sophisticated avatar leads to higher cognition-based trust than a less sophisticated avatar; (2) under a more sophisticated avatar condition, the absence of offline information and the presence of offline information lead to the same level of cognition-based trust; (3) under a less sophisticated avatar condition, the presence of offline information leads to higher cognition-based trust than the absence of offline information. This research contributes toward the understanding of identity verification on interpersonal trust in virtual environments.
Choi, Chris SeoYun; Yun, Haejung; and Kim, Kyung Kyu, "The Impact of Avatar Appearance and Offline Identity Disclosure on Trust in Virtual Worlds" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 270.