Our focus lies on moral emotions in the social virtual world Second Life (SL). Based on media equation theory we could expect that moral emotions regulate social virtual interactions in a similar way as they do in real life (RL). However, emotions are also linked with involvement, and SL residents presumably are more involved in SL compared to non-residents. Via two quasi-experiments, we tested to what extent moral emotions felt when being cheated on by a love partner are comparable in intensity when this happens in SL versus RL. Results show that for SL residents the intensity of moral emotions did not differ between SL versus RL situations, whereas for non-residents a SL situation triggered less intense emotions. Further, for SL residents the level of involvement in SL had a significant impact on the moral emotions in response to a SL situation. In social virtual worlds, media equation thus seems to depend on involvement.
Bibliographical noteGabriels, K., Poels, K., & Braeckman, J. (2014). Morality and involvement in social virtual worlds: The intensity of moral emotions in response to virtual versus real life cheating. New media and society 16 (3), pp. 451-469.
Gabriels, K., Poels, K., & Braeckman, J. (2014). Morality and involvement in social virtual worlds : the intensity of moral emotions in response to virtual versus real life cheating. New Media & Society, 16(3), 451-469. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444813487957