Following on from my recent post about the discomfort experienced when changing grids through having to modify an avatar that we have grown accustomed to using in, say, SL (here), Lalo has written a thorough and thoughtful reply and given his take on the subject which he has, probably rightly renamed Transworld Syndrome.
Now, although we have both come up with several possible reasons for this strong attachment to a 'particular pile of pixels' I have a feeling that there is more to this.
Botgirl wrote in comments to Lalo's post about the need to have a consistent form for a consistency of identity in both/all worlds.
....and that rang a few bells (Botgirl nails it again). As the avatar bears more than a passing resemblance to a character in a literary work there is the need for Her to show credibility....and this credibilty involves a consistency of identity.
If I am to immerse myself in a book or film I have to identify with the characters...... If I am to enjoy my Virtual Life I have to identify with the principle character, my avi...... She must be like Me.
Now, as in RL, I can get a drastic haircut (buy hair) which my friends will say, or I will think..."That is very 'Me""/"You"... .and after years of doing this I gradually, thro trial and error, build a look that I find credible...
...and I think the credibility is the paramount feature of the immersive experience, inworld as well as watching a film or reading a book. I have to be able to suspend disbelief and the continuity and consistency simply help me achieve this for longer periods of time. e.g. if James Bond had turned into a giant rabbit on a plane flight to Paris, I may find that amusing, but it wouldn't seem right. It would have been out of character and would be inconsistent with what I 'know' about James Bond, incredible.
Now, to turn to the Real Weirdo's, those that want SL to be an image of 'reality' and model their avis accordingly, i.e. they try to make their SL bodies the same as their RL body.. well...they are kinda doomed to failure. If we say they are looking for Me = Me, they are continually thwarted by people who are too tall, dogs that talk, flying people etc. Their Body Image cannot stand alone, the RL Body Image is always seen in relation to others (normally, the human race) and I mention this in passing as the recent LL advertising campaign has been directed at exactly these people, the one's who will have the most difficulty in achieving immersion in VWs.
.....and while I am on the subject of immersion, I have often ranted in these pages against the misuse of the term immersive art... there is no immersive art because there is no non-immersive setting in SL, every sim is immersive.
Good art is immersive and bad art can be seen in an immersive setting, but the provision of a story on a notecard or 'talking' prims has ALMOST ZERO effect compared to my relationship to my avi.
If that relationship is right, everything else becomes immersive.
So, given this hypothesis, Transworld Syndrome is a simple aim for credibility through a consistency of form (where form=identity [botgirl]) for the sake of the immersive experience.
THAT pile of pixels pull me in and keep me playing. YAY!!