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Affective Load and Engagement in Second Life: Experiencing Urgent, Persistent, and Long-Term Information Needs

, University of Hawaii, United States

IJVPLE Volume 1, Number 3, ISSN 1947-8518 Publisher: IGI Global


New users of virtual environments face a steep learning curve, requiring persistence and determination to overcome challenges experienced while acclimatizing to the demands of avatar-mediated behavior. Concurrent structured self-reports can be used to monitor the personal affective and cognitive struggles involved in virtual world adaptation to specific affordances while performing particular tasks and activities with avatars. Examination of user discourse in self-reports reveal that participants focus on micro-management concerns about how to proceed in an activity, replete with intense emotions and uncertainty over how to operate affordances. Concurrent structured self-reports engage users in meta-affective and meta-cognitive reflection and facilitate coping with confusion and negative emotions. As Second Life is a complex virtual world with hundreds of affordances, people experience a continuous stream of information needs. Urgent, persistent, and long-term information needs are associated with differing qualities and intensities of affective load, such as impatience, irritation, anxiety, and frustration. When a particular information need is met, affective engagement results in intensity proportional to the affective load. Constructing user discourse during virtual activities serves as a coping mechanism that facilitates adaptation by raising meta-cognitive and meta-affective awareness.


Nahl, D. (2010). Affective Load and Engagement in Second Life: Experiencing Urgent, Persistent, and Long-Term Information Needs. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 1(3), 1-16. IGI Global. Retrieved November 21, 2019 from .



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