Online and On My Mind: Temporary and Chronic Accessibility Moderate the Influence of Media Figures

To investigate the influence of media figures on self-perception, online gamers reported how central their main videogame character (avatar) is to their own identity and answered questions about their avatar's body size either before or after questions about their own body size. When the avatar was not central to the gamer's identity, the avatar's body size influenced gamer's own body judgments only when the avatar was brought to mind by preceding questions. When the avatar was central to the gamer's identity, it influenced gamers' own body judgments independent of question order. In both cases, accessible avatars elicited assimilation effects on self-judgment. We conclude that media figures exert a chronic influence on self-judgment when they are central to the self. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]