[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scorpio_and_her_projection.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Perhaps SCORPIO [[PinocchioSyndrome has]] [[PinocchioSyndrome dreams]] to become [[BecomeARealBoy organic]].]]

Residual Self-Image is what you get when a Virtual Reality, SpiritWorld, or other alternate plane of existence designs the appearance of avatars in its domain off of personality and how people think of themselves, rather than real-world appearance.

In fiction, a world seen through residual self-images will often have BeautyEqualsGoodness in effect, or else the absolute inverse. (Self-hatred might skew things a little.) Gender and (sometimes) species may be different in that VR than in the real world. Odds are, there will be a set of PersonalAppearanceTropes the VR is using to translate personality into looks...


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', this was the HandWave for why the [=DigiDestined=] always had the same outfits in the Digital World regardless of what they were wearing beforehand, and why those outfits were completely different from anything they owned in reality.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheMatrix'': TropeNamer. A person's avatar within the Matrix is generated by a combination of will and programming parameters established by the Matrix. This appearance can be markedly different from the "outer" self.
-->'''Morpheus:''' ''[speaking to Neo in the Construct]'' [...] Your clothes are different; the plugs in your arms and head are gone. Your hair has changed. Your appearance now is what we call "residual self-image". It is the mental projection of your digital self.
* ''Film/Deadpool2'': The third time Wade Wilson is having a NearDeathExperience, he finally goes through the invisible wall to reach Vanessa. In doing so, he no longer looks like a mutant disfigured by cancer, but his original, handsome self (i.e. Creator/RyanReynolds without make-up).

* In ''Literature/JohannesCabalAndTheFearInstitute'' Cabal and the three FI members journey to the Dreamlands and find their apprances changed to reflect their inner dreams-one looks like a swashbuckler, another a merchant, and the last a magistrate. Cabal himself doesn't change at all (though his gun turns into a sword because guns aren't poetic enough for the Dreamlands) because as one of them puts it "he's already what he wants to be."
* Creator/MarionZimmerBradley's ''Literature/{{Darkover}}'' uses this trope in "the Overworld", the spiritual[=/=]mental plane that some ''laran'' users (especially healers and monitors in the Towers) operate on. A person's appearance in the Overworld seems to be determined entirely by their self-image. In one memorable case, the Overworld form is a huge crab-like being.
* In ''Literature/TheWoundedSky'' by Creator/DianeDuane, every time the Enterprise uses the experimental drive, the crew members experience a reality based on how they perceive themselves. While Kirk's self-perception is never actually described, [=McCoy=] provides a solid clue when he asks "[[KnightInShiningArmor Is that armor getting heavy, Jim?]]"
* In ''Literature/TheSkinjackerTrilogy'', the appearance of children in Everlost is based on what they think of themselves. If some can remember exactly what they looked like when they were alive, then they'll look that way in Everlost, but their appearance can change if they think about one of their features too much (for example, someone uncomfortable about a large nose might have it get even bigger, and someone proud of their long hair might see it grow even longer). There are two extreme examples of this: Nick had chocolate on his face when he died, and he keeps thinking about the smear until it expands and starts to take over, and [[spoiler:Mikey [=McGill=], when falling to the center of the earth, pictured himself as a monster clawing his way back out, and remained that way after he escaped. He reverts back to his real appearance after his sister shows him a locket containing a picture of himself.]]
* Non-SpiritWorld or VR example: This is precisely how magical healing in TheCosmere works. You are rebuilt back to your "cognitive ideal." This can be beneficial (e.g. you've never accepted or internalized a lost limb, so it starts to grow back as soon as you get some {{Mana}}) or harmful (e.g. your SlaveBrand doesn't heal because you've internalized the baggage that comes with it, and alterations heal away because they're not part of the template).

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* On an episode of ''Series/{{Angel}}'', Cordelia has an out-of-body experience after her powers begin to take a toll on her body. Skip the demon, her guide, remarks that astral appearances works like this; he says that most people he meets project an idealized image of themselves, and is impressed that she just looks like herself.
-->'''Skip:''' You're a remarkably self-confident individual, you know that?

[[folder:Video Games]]
* SCORPIO from ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic.'' She is a highly advanced droid that ''[[BerserkButton loathes]]'' being labelled as such. Several instances have her appearing in human form via holographic technology. It's a point of interest that she chooses to look like this freed from the confines of her physical body, whether or not this is a default display, a disguise she merely favours or that it hints at a [[PinocchioSyndrome deeper longing]] to be [[BecomeARealBoy more than a machine]] is still up for debate.
* ''VideoGame/TheMatrixPathOfNeo'' and ''VideoGame/EnterTheMatrix'', being part of ''The Matrix'', have this for all the rebels. Both are also an example of BeautyEqualsGoodness.
* In ''Videogame/DreamfallChapters'' ,when Zoë makes it to Arcadia in Book Three, she appears in appropriate clothing (if a little overdressed for the neighborhood, as she points out), her hairstyle is back to what it was in the first two books (although pinned back) and she no longer has her scar or dermal patch.
* In ''Videogame/GhostTrick'', [[spoiler:a ghost's appearance depends on what they believe they are. This leads to a gag where a character's ghost momentarily took the wrong appearance, as well as the twist that the main character isn't who the player expects.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Roy discovers that everyone in the afterlife LawfulGood plane looks like an ideal version of themselves. His father looks the same as he did when he died, an old man, because he always was a GrumpyOldMan at heart, even when he was young. His mother, however, looks young and hot, because she never stopped thinking or herself as a 19-year-old looker.
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'': When George enters X's mind to save the others he's assimilated, he meets Protoman's core personality, which resembles a human being instead of a robot. Dr. Light explains that he designed his robots to be as human as possible, so their core personalities naturally would resemble humans.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the third season of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Aang visits Avatar Roku in the spirit realm. While there, Aang has his traditional shaved head and Air Nomad robes, rather than the short hair and Fire Nation disguise he is currently wearing.