coondoggie writes "Smile and the world smiles with you? Seems so, even in cyberspace. Ohio State University research released today says the simulated emotions of digital characters on Web sites have a real impact on potential customers looking at them. The study, appearing in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, found that digital characters might be better merchants if they act consistently happy, even if the products they're selling — such as novels or movies — are heart-wrenchingly sad. Still...If your avatar is going down to protest Second Life headquarters, you might want to look a little mean.