Multiple Personality Order: Physical and Personality Characteristics of the Self, Primary Avatar and Alt

  • Richard L. Gilbert
  • Jessica A. Foss
  • Nora A. Murphy
Part of the Springer Series in Immersive Environments book series (SSIE)


One hundred and four participants, all of whom had multiple avatars in the 3D virtual world of Second LifeTM, completed a set of measures to assess how physical characteristics, activity preferences, personality features, and social-emotional processes are similar or different across various combinations of the physical self, the primary avatar, and the sole or most frequently used alt. Data was also obtained on the frequency of alt use, motivations for constructing alts, and the main forms of identity experimentation engaged in with alts. The combined results were then used to construct a model of how personality systems composed of multiple offline and online identities operate and form a “multiple personality order.” As 3D virtual worlds and the global population of avatars continue to grow, creating and coordinating a system of multiple offline and online identities will increasingly become a normative feature of human development and, like a choreographer managing a company of dancers or a conductor leading an orchestra, the operation of personality will take on a quality of performance art.


Virtual World Body Type Hair Colour Identity Experimentation Human Driver 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Portions of this project were funded by the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies at Loyola Marymount University, as well as a private donation by Edward D. Holly.

Portions of this data were presented at the 2010 Summit of the Immersive Education Initiative, Boston, MA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Gilbert
    • 1
  • Jessica A. Foss
    • 1
  • Nora A. Murphy
    • 2
  1. 1.The P.R.O.S.E. ProjectLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLoyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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