A study by Prof. Karl F. MacDorman from IUPUI shows that a virtual character plays an important role in advising people’s decisions that concern moral factors. They showed people a female character (real as well as virtual) and found out that after told about the character’s story, men are more likely to rule against the more virtual ones (i.e. looks unreal from movement, speech and appearance, etc.) while women remain fair toward both ends. The researcher concluded that such factors about virtual characters might play an important role when used in shopping advice, medical prescription, etc.
What I perceive is a potential application of this phenomena. Why would men have bias as the degree of virtuality changes? Which one more truly represents their opinion, upon seeing the real one or the virtual one? If we know what’s going on inside (psychologically) we could device certain communicating environment for specific usages (interogation?).
Here is the corresponding paper of the research.