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ERIC Number: EJ933880
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1040-3590
Virtual Social Environments as a Tool for Psychological Assessment: Dynamics of Interaction with a Virtual Spouse
Schonbrodt, Felix D.; Asendorpf, Jens B.
Psychological Assessment, v23 n1 p7-17 Mar 2011
Computer games are advocated as a promising tool bridging the gap between the controllability of a lab experiment and the mundane realism of a field experiment. At the same time, many authors stress the importance of observing real behavior instead of asking participants about possible or intended behaviors. In this article, the authors introduce an online "virtual social environment", which is inhabited by autonomous agents including the virtual spouse of the participant. Participants can freely explore the virtual world and interact with any other inhabitant, allowing the expression of spontaneous and unprompted behavior. The authors investigated the usefulness of this game for the assessment of interactions with a virtual spouse and their relations to intimacy and autonomy motivation as well as relationship satisfaction with the real-life partner. Both the intimacy motive and the satisfaction with the real-world relationship showed significant correlations with aggregated in-game behavior, which shows that some sort of transference between the real world and the virtual world took place. In addition, a process analysis of interaction quality revealed that relationship satisfaction and intimacy motive had different effects on the initial status and the time course of the interaction quality. Implications for psychological assessment using virtual social environments are discussed. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables and 5 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany (Berlin)