Increasing exergame physical activity through self and opponent avatar appearance

Jorge Peña, Eunice Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


We investigated how manipulating self and opponent avatar weight (normal vs. obese) affected people's physical activity in real life as they played an exergame. While playing virtual tennis, female players operating a normal weight self avatar were more physically active relative to those using an obese self avatar. Participants physically exerted themselves the most when both self and opponent had normal weight avatars, implying increased physical activity when self and opponent avatars look equally fit. The study also identified conditions that discouraged physical activity (e.g., normal weight self avatar vs. an obese opponent). The findings were congruent with priming and social comparison models, and illustrated how virtual social cues can be leveraged to influence health behaviors via exergames.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Avatars
  • Exergames
  • Physical activity
  • Priming
  • Social comparison


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