The present studyaimed to assess the relationship between self-construal and parasocialinteraction.
Self-construal refers to the groundsof self-definition, and theextent to which the self is defined independently of othersor interdependently with others. While it is understood that everyone has bothindependent and interdependent self-concepts, people tend to score more highlyon one than the other. Shweder & Bourne suggested that people ofcollectivist countries such as China and Japan tend to score much higher oninterdependent self-concepts. Whereas in more individualist countries such asAmerica and England, people tend to score higher on independent self-concept, (Shweder &Bourne, 1982). Parasocialinteraction is defined as the ‘relationship between media users and mediafigures or characters’ (Jin & Park,2009). It explains why people seem to grow a fond liking for a particularcelebrity or TV/book character. People can begin to feel as if the mediatedother is talking or acting directly towards them.
Consequently, parasocialinteraction can lead people to believe that said others are their actual orreal friends, and in more extreme cases, people can believe they are inromantic relationships with the other. Jin andPark (2009) investigated the same hypothesis as the present study, in anavatar-based game console, Wii. It examined the effects of video game players’self-construal on parasocial interaction with their avatars and feelings ofself-presence. The study discovered that game players with high interdependentself-construal show closer parasocial interaction than do those with lowinterdependent self-construal. Thepresent study, is an adaptation based on the work of Jin and Park (2009).However, in this study the experimenter used a less anthropomorphised avatar.Nonetheless, it was hypothesised that the participants who showed a higherself-construal were more likely to have a higher parasocial score with theiravatar, as compared with those participants who showed a low self-construal.