Creative identity and role often determine the constraints people impose on their own creative and innovative capabilities. How can avatars, digital representations of a person used to interact within a virtual environment, be used to manipulate the constraints of identity and role on creativity? Our studies show that the visual characteristics of an avatar can be used to support creativity in at least two ways: (i) priming creative stereotypes by using an avatar which appearance associates with a creative profession (e.g. an artist), and (ii) by making an avatar look like the user itself. Identity and role can therefore be manipulated in a  manner that supports creativity during idea generation.

Figure. Examples of avatars used to prime a creative identity. Avatars are generated with a body scan to resemble the user. Avatars are wearing office (left), artistic (middle), or the user’s own (right) clothing to prime a creative or non-creative identity.