Some people feel our avatars are not important. But it seems to me people like to create a version of themselves or even multiple ones. I feel they relate better to the avatar and her/his/its’ experiences much better if they have a connection. After being in Second LIfe, when I saw more controlled avatars and environments that several companies are creating, it seemed restrictive and not very creative to me. I did not feel I had the same connection in these environment that I do with my avatar in Second Life.
Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University and “The Virtual Human Interaction Lab” has been studying the social and psychological effects of transforming avatar behavior and appearance. “This work raises many ethical questions and forces us to articulate what, exactly, we mean by an “honest” representation – and when we actually want it.” (Judith Donath)
PBS had more on the “Avatar Effect“