Anyone thinking that virtual worlds are edging towards some kind of utopia, please revise your hopes downwards. A study into the social psychology of virtual environments, by Northwestern University, indicates that people respond to the same social cues about race in virtual worlds as they do in real life. In an experiment carried out in users were approached by a researcher wearing either a light-skinned or dark-skinned avatar and asked a series of questions..The study found that when asked a fairly demanding question, followed by a less demanding request (a so-called 'Door in the face technique', dark skinned avatars received a significantly lower rate of positive responses. Same old, same old. Researchers find racial bias in virtual worlds [] (image source: