Conference Paper

The Impact of a Self-Avatar on Cognitive Load in Immersive Virtual Reality

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Abstract

The use of a self-avatar inside an immersive virtual reality system has been shown to have important effects on presence, interaction and perception of space. Based on studies from linguistics and cognition, in this paper we demonstrate that a self-avatar may aid the participant’s cognitive processes while immersed in a virtual reality system. In our study participants were asked to memorise pairs of letters, perform a spatial rotation exercise and then recall the pairs of letters. In a between-subject factor they either had an avatar or not, and in a within-subject factor they were instructed to keep their hands still or not. We found that participants who both had an avatar and were allowed to move their hands had significantly higher letter pair recall. There was no significant difference between the other three conditions. Further analysis showed that participants who were allowed to move their hands, but could not see the self-avatar, usually didn’t move their hands or stopped moving their hands after a short while. We argue that an active self-avatar may alleviate the mental load of doing the spatial rotation exercise and thus improve letter recall. The results are further evidence of the importance of an appropriate self-avatar representation in immersive virtual reality.

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... When the participants are embodied in a self-avatar they perform some tasks more efficiently than when they are not. In the experiment presented by Steed et al. participants are asked to memorize letters then rotate figures and finally recall the original pairs of letters either embodied in a self-avatar or without self-avatar (Steed et al., 2016). Their results show that the use of a self-avatar improves the participants' ability to perform cognitive tasks because a self-avatar provides more information related to manipulation and communication. ...
... The identification with the woman in the aggression experienced led to males to give fewer shocks than the ones embodied in the aggressor's body. Steed et al. studied the level of pres-ence and plausibility experienced by the participants when immersed in a virtual scenario where some refugees were waiting to be taken illegally to Europe (Steed et al., 2016). Two factors were considered to check presence and plausibility: if the virtual characters look at the participant (Responsiveness) and the presence or not of a self-avatar that could be seen when the participants looked down. ...
... Participants had a preference for including a body in the experiment so they felt a higher sense of presence in the experiment. Similarly, in the experiment presented by Pan and Steed in 2017, the participants had to perform collaborative and competitive tasks in a virtual environment (Steed et al., 2016). The tasks were performed with or without a self-avatar and compared to a face-to-face version of the tasks. ...
Thesis
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... This could suggest having a different visual representation of the participants' identity in virtual reality may produce measurable beneficial outcomes within a CVE. More recently a study showed that an active Self Avatar which enables the use of gestures could alleviate cognitive load of a task and therefore improve performance (Steed et al., 2016). Mohler et al. (2010) showed that an animated Self Avatar was superior to that of a static one when participants took part in a task with distance estimation. ...
... We know from previous studies that there may be a correlation between how much a person is liked and trusted (Feng et al., 2004). We also know that successful non-verbal communication is positively impacted by the use of gestures as it helps to reduce cognitive load and makes conceptualising ideas easier (Steed et al., 2016). However, it may be that consistent avatar representation allows for mutually shared social cues which can be grasped and understood more quickly, and therefore impacting play faster. ...
... There are many studies demonstrating the importance and effect of gesturing, an example being that the mimicry of gestures and body language could be an indicator of trust (Verberne et al., 2013). Another recent discovery is the potential ability to reduce cognitive load whilst completing a task (Steed et al., 2016). An alternative reasoning is that the confederate was perhaps able to respond to the participants gaze-suggested by the movement FIGURE 4 | Study 1: boxplots of the social presence questionnaire components and investment game. ...
Article
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This paper explores the impact of self-representation (full body Self Avatar vs. Just Controllers) in a Collaborate Virtual Environment (CVE) and the consistency of self-representation between the users. We conducted two studies: Study 1 between a confederate and a participant, Study 2 between two participants. In both studies, participants were asked to play a collaborative game, and we investigated the effect on trust with a questionnaire, money invested in a trust game, and performance data. Study 1 suggested that having a Self Avatar made the participant give more positive marks to the confederate and that when the confederate was without an avatar, they received more trust (measured by money). Study 2 showed that consistency led to more trust and better productivity. Overall, results imply consistency improves trust only when in an equal social dynamic in CVE, and that the use of confederate could shift the social dynamics.
... There is much literature on the use of virtual avatars for education (Dickey, 2005;Hew & Cheung, 2010;Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011;Reisoğlu et al., 2017) and the impact of physical avatar characteristics on the participants deeper immersion and emotional satisfaction within IVR (Steed, Pan, Zisch, & Steptoe, 2016;Waltemate, Gall, Roth, Botsch, & Latoschik, 2018). The avatar's degree of personalization, realism, and graphical fidelity is significantly related to ownership, presence, and agency in immersive virtual environments (Waltemate et al., 2018). ...
... The avatar was built in line with Heidicker et al. (2017) that highlighted the importance of animation and user mapped motion control on the presence and behavioral interdependence. Although the authors understand the significance of avatar personalization, realism, and graphical fidelity (Steed et al., 2016;Waltemate et al., 2018), the overheads of development for a mobile IVR solution is too high. Therefore, a humanoid avatar was developed that identified the importance of complete body representations. ...
... The multiuser additions through avatars and voice added to this experience, supported with comments like, "…we can feel each other in the model, and it's funny that all of us jumped on to the tree outside the [pavilion]." This reflects the consensus that avatars lead to improved immersion (Oh et al., 2018;Steed et al., 2016). ...
Article
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Immersive virtual reality (IVR) and mobile technologies have been identified as important in reimaging information delivery and pedagogy. This, coupled with evolving research in single (SUVR) and multiuser (MUVR) IVR environments, may enhance educational practice. However, there is limited research on the impact of such technologies on the learners' experience in authentic learning environments, such as building information modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) workflows. This paper addresses this through a study of forty-eight participants recruited from a postgraduate construction course at an Australian University to answer a research question on how mobile MUVR is more useable than mobile SUVR when experiencing building information models. A within-subjects' experiment was performed using a mixed-methods approach assessing participant mobile IVR Usability on a 5-point Likert scale across four constructs and analysis of reflective sentiment and essays. The results show that when the participants moved from SUVR to MUVR, this significantly increased the overall perceived mobile IVR Usability. Combined with the qualitative analysis, these results suggest that MUVR influences mobile IVR Usability and an increase in learner experience. This study can be used as a launchpad for future research that will explore the causes of the evolution of the enhancement that MUVR provides, expanding beyond the scope of AEC education and industries.
... Combining ACS and VR has advantages in several application fields. Among the 63 studies retained in this survey, most focused on global VR applications to understand how users felt in a VR context and how to enhance VR application using the user's mental state (i.e., 37 studies) [5,11,13,14,15,16,19,20,29,32,34,36,37,46,47,48,49,55,56,58,60,74,79,83,86,88,89,90,91,98,105,108,113,117,124,140,143]. 10 focused on artificial intelligence (AI) applications by training ACS recognition models in VR [2,21,24,92,93,96,100,121,126,150]. 5 were done in a gaming context [1,62,82,109,112], 3 in a military context [114,115,154], 2 in a sport context [8,145], 2 were applied in an educational context [39,43], 2 were done to improve immersive training [38,87], 1 targeted an aerospace application [6], and 1 focused on the benefits of immersion for journalism [146]. The measured ACS in the 63 studies are summarized in Fig. 4. ...
... It can be auditory [86] or visual, and the stimuli can take different forms such as color balls [121,150], letters (for verbal task) or oriented symbols (for spatial task) [32]. Steed et al. also used a letter recall task, which targets users' working memory, to test the influence of some independent variables on cognitive task performance [113,143]. On the other hand, Bergström et al. used a counting backward task [19], which target executive functioning. Similarly, Banakou et al. used a post-experiment Tower Of London task [13], which especially target planning and problem-solving skills. ...
... On the mental rotation side, Collins et al. [39] used a spatial rotation task to induce different levels of cognitive load. Spatial rotation tasks were also used as distractors in [113,143]. Dey et al. [48] and Gerry et al. [58] made use of a visual searching task, where users had to find a target shape among several colored visual distractors, to generate different task load levels. Recall of objects questionnaires are also often used to assess spatial awareness in VEs [49,89,91]. ...
Article
In Virtual Reality (VR), users can be immersed in emotionally intense and cognitively engaging experiences. Yet, despite strong interest from scholars and a large amount of work associating VR and Affective and Cognitive States (ACS), there is a clear lack of structured and systematic form in which this research can be classified. We define "Affective and Cognitive VR" to relate to works which (1) induce ACS, (2) recognize ACS, or (3) exploit ACS by adapting virtual environments based on ACS measures. This survey clarifies the different models of ACS, presents the methods for measuring them with their respective advantages and drawbacks in VR, and showcases Affective and Cognitive VR studies done in an immersive virtual environment (IVE) in a non-clinical context. Our article covers the main research lines in Affective and Cognitive VR. We provide a comprehensive list of references with the analysis of 63 research articles and summarize future works directions.
... We show that the performance gains of such training reflected by the level of realism of virtual hand, which is mainly because the realistic virtual hand representation would elicit stronger sense of agency [22]. This agrees with previous evidence suggesting that the level of realism would affect the presence, interaction and perception of space [23,24]. In addition, focus and attention in therapy applications is important to prevent distraction. ...
... it would be helpful to improve the level of realism by adjusting the size of the realistic virtual hand for each participant. In addition, it would be interesting to investigate whether the presence of a seated full-body avatar would provide even more performance improvements for an untrained hand in bilateral tasks than compared to a realistic hand in the future [23,24]. Second, to extend our development of therapy applications and gamification and virtual space design, another avenue is to investigate the quantified qualitative experience of the participant by presenting questionnaires to determine user preference and presence in this application. ...
... We show that the performance gains of such training reflected by the level of realism of virtual hand, which is mainly because the realistic virtual hand representation would elicit stronger sense of agency [22]. This agrees with previous evidence suggesting that the level of realism would affect the presence, interaction and perception of space [23,24]. In addition, focus and attention in therapy applications is important to prevent distraction. ...
... it would be helpful to improve the level of realism by adjusting the size of the realistic virtual hand for each participant. In addition, it would be interesting to investigate whether the presence of a seated full-body avatar would provide even more performance improvements for an untrained hand in bilateral tasks than compared to a realistic hand in the future [23,24]. Second, to extend our development of therapy applications and gamification and virtual space design, another avenue is to investigate the quantified qualitative experience of the participant by presenting questionnaires to determine user preference and presence in this application. ...
Conference Paper
Physical practice with one hand results in performance gains of the other (un-practiced) hand in a unilateral motor task. Yet how it induces performance gains of interlimb coordination in the bimanual movements between trained limb and the opposite, untrained limb is unclear. The present study designed a game-like interactive system for physical practice, in which an avatar’s hands could be controlled itself or by the subject during a bimanual movement task in an immersive virtual reality environment. Participants practiced with the bimanual task by simultaneously drawing non-symmetric three-sided squares (e.g., U and C) to learn limb coordination with the following training strategies: (1) performing and seeing a bimanual task (BH-BH); (2) performing a unimanual task with right hand and seeing a bimanual action (RH-BH); (3) not performing a task but seeing a bimanual action (noH-BH); (4) performing and seeing a unimanual task (RH-RH). We found that the learning performance was better after BH-BH and RH-BH compared with other training strategies. In addition, we examined the effects of virtual hand representations on the learning performance after RH-BH. We found that the performance after training was increased with the realism level of virtual hands. These findings suggest that the proposed approach of RH-BH with realistic virtual hand would result in transfer of coordination skill to the unpracticed hand, which puts forward a new approach for learning and rehabilitation of coordination skill in patients with unilateral motor deficit in immersive environments.
... However, previous literature suggests that the presence of self-avatars affects the perception of the spatial properties of the environment, the objects in the IVE, and the affordance judgments associated with them [7], [13], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19]. Self-avatars have also been shown to affect object interaction tasks [20] and cognitive load in VR [21]. ...
... They reported that visually faithful self-avatars had little effect on object interaction and cognitive task performance. However, in a more recent study by Steed et al., participants were asked to perform cognitive tasks involving memorizing letters and performing spatial rotations in an IVE [21]. The authors evaluated the presence of self-avatars and the ability to rotate hands on the tasks listed above. ...
Article
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The availability of new and improved display, tracking and input devices for Virtual Reality experiences has facilitated the use of partial and full body self-avatars in interaction with virtual objects in the environment. However, scaling the avatar to match the user's body dimensions remains to be a cumbersome process. Moreover, the effect of body-scaled self-avatars on size perception of virtual handheld objects and related action capabilities has been relatively unexplored. To this end, we present an empirical evaluation investigating the effect of the presence or absence of body-scaled self-avatars and visuo-motor calibration on frontal passability affordance judgments when interacting with virtual handheld objects. The self-avatar's dimensions were scaled to match the participant's eyeheight, arms length, shoulder width and body depth along the mid section. The results indicate that the presence of body-scaled self-avatars produce more realistic judgments of passability and aid the calibration process when interacting with virtual objects. Also, participants rely on the visual size of virtual objects to make judgments even though the kinesthetic and proprioceptive feedback of the object is missing or mismatched.
... VR might be especially useful for teaching programming because spatial navigation in VR helps reduce extraneous cognitive load and increase germane cognitive focus on learning content compared to text on a screen [26]. Further, VR allows users to experience a sense of self-presence in the environment [33], which facilitates an embodied-cognitive learning experience [27,35] through which users interact with the learning content more intuitively [36], potentially augmenting learning outcomes [4]. Nonetheless, only a handful of environments for programming exists in VR. ...
... • Reconfiguring and reprogramming the mechanical parts in your gun to enhance your capabilities. Given the great potential for VR to enhance learning outcomes [4,26,35,36], we expect that Hack.VR might help teach programming concepts more effectively than similar, non-immersive tools. Although assessment research should be conducted to confirm this expectation empirically, from a perspective that spans research, design, and play, there is reason to be excited about what the coming decade will bring for programming in VR. ...
Preprint
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In this article we describe Hack.VR, an object-oriented programming game in virtual reality. Hack.VR uses a VR programming language in which nodes represent functions and node connections represent data flow. Using this programming framework, players reprogram VR objects such as elevators, robots, and switches. Hack.VR has been designed to be highly interactable both physically and semantically.
... To show more explicitly the expressions, poses or movement, avatars can be used in virtual telepresence applications. In research studies, participants have reported a much stronger sense of presence in virtual conferencing than traditional audio or video conferencing [4,35]. In the last decade, the shared virtual environment has developed significantly and seen larger adoption from people. ...
... The animation states are synchronized with remote users using remote procedure calls (RPCs). Steed et al. in 2016 pointed out that self-avatar would enhance a user's cognition in the virtual environment and provide more direct information in manipulation and communication [35]. Although in our case, we disabled the avatar body for local user and enabled it only for remote users. ...
Preprint
Collaboration using mixed reality technology is an active area of research, where significant research is done to virtually bridge physical distances. There exist a diverse set of platforms and devices that can be used for a mixed-reality collaboration, and is largely focused for indoor scenarios, where, a stable tracking can be assumed. We focus on supporting collaboration between VR and AR users, where AR user is mobile outdoors, and VR user is immersed in true-sized digital twin. This cross-platform solution requires new user experiences for interaction, accurate modelling of the real-world, and working with noisy outdoor tracking sensor such as GPS. In this paper, we present our results and observations of real-time collaboration between cross-platform users, in the context of a geo-referenced virtual environment. We propose a solution for using GPS measurement in VSLAM to localize the AR user in an outdoor environment. The client applications enable VR and AR user to collaborate across the heterogeneous platforms seamlessly. The user can place or load dynamic contents tagged to a geolocation and share their experience with remote users in real-time.
... Selfavatars also change how we perceive touch inside VR (Maselli et al., 2016;Gonzalez-Franco and Berger, 2019). Even more interestingly, self-avatars can even help users to better perform cognitive tasks (Steed et al., 2016b;Banakou et al., 2018), modify implicit racial bias (Groom et al., 2009;Peck et al., 2013;Banakou et al., 2016;Hasler et al., 2017;Salmanowitz, 2018) or even change, for example, their body weight perception (Piryankova et al., 2014). ...
... Nevertheless, many VR applications limit the rendering of the user's body to hands only. Although such representations may suffice for many tasks, this lowers the realism of the virtual scenario and may reduce the level of embodiment of the user (De Vignemont, 2011) and even have further impact even on their cognitive load (Steed et al., 2016b). ...
Article
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As part of the open sourcing of the Microsoft Rocketbox avatar library for research and academic purposes, here we discuss the importance of rigged avatars for the Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR, AR) research community. Avatars, virtual representations of humans, are widely used in VR applications. Furthermore many research areas ranging from crowd simulation to neuroscience, psychology, or sociology have used avatars to investigate new theories or to demonstrate how they influence human performance and interactions. We divide this paper in two main parts: the first one gives an overview of the different methods available to create and animate avatars. We cover the current main alternatives for face and body animation as well introduce upcoming capture methods. The second part presents the scientific evidence of the utility of using rigged avatars for embodiment but also for applications such as crowd simulation and entertainment. All in all this paper attempts to convey why rigged avatars will be key to the future of VR and its wide adoption.
... Embodiment illusions have been shown to be crucial to users experience in immersive virtual reality. When interacting in immersive VR scenarios, having a virtual body was shown to significantly decrease cognitive load and improve performance in motor and cognitive tasks with respect to [56,57,79]. Furthermore, researchers have shown how being embodied in virtual avatars could dramatic implications at the psychological, cognitive and perceptual levels, with plenty of interesting applications in therapy [44,48,51,67], rehabilitation [13,53], learning and recreation [28,50,58]. ...
... This instrument assesses dimensions related to the task (mental, physical, and temporal demands), to the individual's behavior (performance), and to the individual (effort and frustration). Cognitive workload is expected to decline when the training environment affords the participant greater agency, as well as when the instructor embodiment allows for faithful representation of facial expressions and gestures (Steed et al., 2016). Further, environments with greater media richness should reduce workload given that a richer environment provides sufficient cues that preclude the need for participants to perform gapfilling functions, though only if the richer media cues are helpful and not distracting (Alexander et al., 2017;cf. ...
Article
Computer-mediated communications (CMC) can be used as a substitute for face-to-face (FtF) meetings but their effectiveness is highly context dependent. This paper describes a theoretical framework and initial experimental design for characterizing a travel replacement threshold. This effort begins with a use case of remote engineering maintenance training, conducted in three conditions: side-by-side (physically proximate), teleconference (using off-the-shelf software), and a custom VR/AR system designed to provide the apprentice with a virtual view of both the instructor’s larger scale lab and smaller scale workbench. The research hypotheses, experimental protocol, and dependent measures are described. The task involves an instructor demonstrating a circuit board troubleshooting task to a remote apprentice. The apprentice then completes the trained task independently, and performance and subject preferences are compared across conditions. The details of this paper, the result of extensive literature review and winnowing of variables, may assist researchers exploring CMC, training, or social communication.
... On the other hand, some studies on preadolescents MSP have shown the same positive impact of avatar incarnation on presence (Mikropoulos, 2006;Mikropoulos & Strouboulis, 2004). Some studies have investigated this in adults (e.g., González-Franco, Pérez-Marcos, Spanlang, & Slater, 2010;Pan & Steed, 2019;Steed, Pan, Zisch, & Steptoe, 2016), however concerning younger populations research on avatar incarnation has predominantly focused on children or adolescents with neurodevelopment disorders (e.g., autism disorder Bellani, Fornasari, Chittaro, & Brambilla, 2011). ...
Article
Incarnate bodies in the first-person view in virtual reality, especially with a head- mounted display, could impact cognitive processes relying on self-representation, such as memory, emotion, or sense of presence. The goal of this study is to investigate these effects by comparing adults’ and preadolescents’ behaviors. We manipulated incarnation by presenting the experience with or without an avatar (full-body avatar versus VR controllers), while manipulating emotion with presented stimuli. 40 adults and 32 preadolescents were both divided into two experimental groups (avatar versus no-avatar). Valence, arousal, and presence were self-evaluated, and a free recall task was performed. Physiological measurements were carried out to add objective support for our findings. We showed an emotional enhancement of memory in both age groups. Importantly, embodying an avatar permitted preadolescents to have the same memory performance than adults. Memory was predicted by valence and head movements in adults, but no predictors were found for preadolescents. Overall, preadolescents rated virtual environments as more arousing, more positive, and inducing more presence than adults. Surprisingly, avatar incarnation did not impact these measures, we propose that immersion at a sensorimotor level is a more crucial component than incarnation.
... Dodds, Mohler and Bülthoff have demonstrated, for example, that a self-avatar is a valuable resource in a virtual reality environment to interact with others. Steed, Pan, Zisch and Steptoe (2016) state that when analyzing self-presence, the feeling of embodiment inside a self-avatar should be regarded. In certain cases, when embodied within a self-avatar, the individual considers the self-avatar as their true entity. ...
... Understanding the relationship between users, their self-avatars, and their subjective sense of embodiment is an active research area within VR [16]. Further, the existence of self-avatars has been shown to affect cognition and perception within VR [36,45,57]. Numerous studies have found that people quickly feel ownership over their selfavatar and behave in stereotypical ways related to their self-avatar's appearance [63]. ...
Preprint
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Shooter bias is the tendency to more quickly shoot at unarmed Black suspects compared to unarmed White suspects. The primary goal of this research was to investigate the efficacy of shooter bias simulation studies in a more realistic immersive virtual scenario instead of the traditional methodologies using desktop computers. In this paper we present results from a user study (N=99) investigating shooter and racial bias in an immersive virtual environment. Our results highlight how racial bias was observed differently in an immersive virtual environment compared to previous desktop-based simulation studies. Latency to shoot, the standard shooter bias measure, was not found to be significantly different between race or socioeconomic status in our more realistic scenarios where participants chose to raise a weapon and pull a trigger. However, more nuanced head and hand motion analysis was able to predict participants' racial shooting accuracy and implicit racism scores. Discussion of how these nuanced measures can be used for detecting behavior changes for body-swap illusions, and implications of this work related to racial justice and police brutality are discussed.
... This reduces costs and time investments for the examination experts as well a providing students multiple training opportunities. Yet, for a virtual examination to be viable, all gradable elements of a handover should be displayable and any adverse effects relating to VR [8] should be minimized. This paper proposes the use of a handover VR multi-user application for examination and training. ...
Article
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Patient handover is an important part for information transfer between medical professionals in a clinical setting. Yet, in current medical education, these conversations are only trained sparsely, since they are costly to perform as they take place in offsite courses and are led by experts over several days. Virtual reality (VR)-based training courses could increase the availability of training, by eliminating travel costs and reducing the time-commitment of the teaching experts. This work presents a VR prototype of a multi-user training and examination application for patient handover. To ensure a similar interaction quality to its current real world counterpart, this work used omni-directional video recordings to create a realistic setting and compared different projection methods. A pilot study highlighted distinct use-cases of sphere and mesh projections to visualize the recordings. The results suggest enhanced spatial presence relating to the usage of omni-directional videos in VR-applications.
... Present-day VR, however, is a brilliant new medium that exceeds illusion and brings about tangible results in reality with unlimited potential for large-scale application in art, entertainment, relaxation, learning, exercise, training, and treatment or therapy. VR visualizes not only events but also psychological conditions and personalized perceptions [217][218][219][220], induces a sense of ownership [221,222] and of presence [223][224][225][226][227], offers immersion [228], and renders the self in different reality modes, such as being represented by avatar or having a different gender [229,230]. It also influences physical sensations in interventions, such as pain management [231,232] or stress and anxiety reduction [233]; induces necessary emotions, such as empathy [234]; or aims at achieving higher goals, such as self-development [235]. ...
Article
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Our access to computer-generated worlds changes the way we feel, how we think, and how we solve problems. In this review, we explore the utility of different types of virtual reality, immersive or non-immersive, for providing controllable, safe environments that enable individual training, neurorehabilitation, or even replacement of lost functions. The neurobiological effects of virtual reality on neuronal plasticity have been shown to result in increased cortical gray matter volumes, higher concentration of electroencephalographic beta-waves, and enhanced cognitive performance. Clinical application of virtual reality is aided by innovative brain–computer interfaces, which allow direct tapping into the electric activity generated by different brain cortical areas for precise voluntary control of connected robotic devices. Virtual reality is also valuable to healthy individuals as a narrative medium for redesigning their individual stories in an integrative process of self-improvement and personal development. Future upgrades of virtual reality-based technologies promise to help humans transcend the limitations of their biological bodies and augment their capacity to mold physical reality to better meet the needs of a globalized world.
... Research in this field has shown evidence of the importance of being embodied in the self-avatar. Beyond the obvious needs of being virtually represented to interact with others in social VR setups, being embodied has been shown to increase users cognitive abilities (Steed et al., 2016), improve haptic performance (Maselli et al., 2016;Gonzalez-Franco and Berger, 2019) or increase self recognition and identification through enfacement (Gonzalez-Franco et al., 2020b). However, the cognitive load impacts of self-avatars are not well understood and may affect results Peck and Tutar, 2020). ...
Article
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The aim of this paper is to further the understanding of embodiment by 1) analytically determining the components defining embodiment, 2) increasing comparability and standardization of the measurement of embodiment across experiments by providing a universal embodiment questionnaire that is validated and reliable, and 3) motivating researchers to use a standardized questionnaire. In this paper we validate numerically and refine our previously proposed Embodiment Questionnaire. We collected data from nine experiments, with over 400 questionnaires, that used all or part of the original embodiment 25-item questionnaire. Analysis was performed to eliminate non-universal questions, redundant questions, and questions that were not strongly correlated with other questions. We further numerically categorized and weighted sub-scales and determined that embodiment is comprised of interrelated categories of Appearance, Response, Ownership, and Multi-Sensory. The final questionnaire consists of 16 questions and four interrelated sub-scales with high reliability within each sub-scale, Chronbach’s α ranged from 0.72 to 0.82. Results of the original and refined questionnaire are compared over all nine experiments and in detail for three of the experiments. The updated questionnaire produced a wider range of embodiment scores compared to the original questionnaire, was able to detect the presence of a self-avatar, and was able to discern that participants over 30 years of age have significantly lower embodiment scores compared to participants under 30 years of age. Removed questions and further research of interest to the community are discussed.
... Avatars are known to have the potential to help with invoking a sense of presence through building a relation between real and virtual body (Slater et al. 2008) and this is even more true for immersive environments where they play an important role with in cognition (Steed et al. 2016). It is also worth mentioning that one of the features of VRChat games is that due the creative tools it provides it is also a space for all kinds of curiosities. ...
Article
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During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic many governments imposed forced lockdowns and implemented social distancing measures. At the same time there was also a large increase in gaming sales, which was particularly pronounced in the Virtual Reality (VR) sector of the market. We hypothesize that this is no coincidence since VR immersion and the capability of inducing embodiment and a feeling of presence can mitigate the loss of contact with outside world. VR has social and spatial potential to provide space and place for human interactions in time when physical contracts are restricted. To investigate this, we analyse reviews of VRChat (a social VR game) posted on the Steam platform, both before and during the pandemic. Among several themes that were identified, we found indications that spatiality plays an important role in the players’ experience. Users describe virtual worlds of the game using emotional language that suggest bonding and presence of place attachment. In the reviews made during the pandemic there is a strong theme of safety associated with virtual places of VRChat – a replacement of physical space that is no longer accessible or is perceived as unsafe. At least for some users, VRChat has provided a sympathetic and comfortable environment during the pandemic to act as a surrogate for social interaction during social distancing and isolation. Future interviews with users are needed to extend and validate this preliminary research.
... We used an Oculus Rift to display the VR application. We tracked the users' hands using a Leap motion mounted directly on the Oculus Rift and visualized it to increase the sense of immersion [25]. We conducted the study in a 4m by 4m tracking space. ...
Conference Paper
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One of the main benefits of interactive Virtual Reality (VR) applications is that they provide a high sense of immersion. As a result, users lose their sense of real-world space which makes them vulnerable to collisions with real-world objects. In this work, we propose a novel approach to prevent such collisions using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS). EMS actively prevents the movement that would result in a collision by actuating the antagonist muscle. We report on a user study comparing our approach to the commonly used feedback modalities: audio, visual, and vibro-tactile. Our results show that EMS is a promising modality for restraining user movement and, at the same time, rated best in terms of user experience.
... Embodiment illusions have been shown to be crucial to users experience in immersive virtual reality. When interacting in immersive VR scenarios, having a virtual body was shown to significantly decrease cognitive load and improve performance in motor and cognitive tasks with respect to [56,57,79]. Furthermore, researchers have shown how being embodied in virtual avatars could dramatic implications at the psychological, cognitive and perceptual levels, with plenty of interesting applications in therapy [44,48,51,67], rehabilitation [13,53], learning and recreation [28,50,58]. ...
... The illusion of the embodiment of a virtual self-representation (or self-avatar) can be evoked in immersive virtual environments [29], and while it is affected by different factors, it is quite robust. The presence of a self-avatar positively affects cognitive processes that dictate way users interact with immersive environments on perceptual and behavioral levels [63] so much so that the absence of one tends to evoke negative effects [8,44]. The co-location of one's self-avatar and physical body, even without a tracked full-body representation, is enough to produce the embodiment illusion and is imperative to evoking it [43]. ...
... In contrast to the effect of a self-avatar on a user's perception, the effect on the actions and behavior appears to be complex. For example, a self-avatar, compared with when no-avatar is displayed, improved the cognitive task performance [56]. The presentation of a self-avatar also improved the performance of locomotion and object interaction tasks [37], but did not influence these tasks when the field of view is limited [59]. ...
Conference Paper
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Preventing users from walking through virtual boundaries (e.g., walls) is an important issue to be addressed in room-scale virtual environments (VEs), considering the safety and design limitations. Sensory feedback from wall collisions has been shown to be effective; however, it can disrupt the immersion. We assumed that a greater sense of presence would discourage users from walking through walls and conducted a two-factor between-subjects experiment (N = 92) that controls the anthropomorphism (realistic or abstract) and visibility (full-body or hand-only) of self-avatars. We analyzed the participants' behaviors and the moment they first penetrated the wall in game-like VEs that gradually instigated participants to penetrate the walls. The results showed that the realistic full-body self-avatar was the most effective for discouraging the participants from penetrating the walls. Furthermore, the participants with lower presence tended to walk through the walls sooner. This study can contribute to applications that require realistic user responses in VEs.
... This is an interesting direction because we can aim to understand the extent of implications of embodiment, and these might yield between system comparisons. For example, while this specific task is a bit too narrow as a general metric, because it is interactive, our own test of cognitive performance depending on embodiment [7] suggests that there might be a series of measures of the implications of being immersed, and then being embodied in the environments. ...
Preprint
There are many potential measures that one might use when evaluating mixed-reality experiences. In this position paper I will argue that there are various stances to take for evaluation, depending on the framing of the experience within a larger body of work. I will draw upon various types of work that my team has been involved with in order to illustrate these different stances. I will then sketch out some directions for developing more robust measures that can help the field move forward.
... The illusion of virtual body ownership (VBO) can be described as the acceptance of ones avatar as the digital alter ego in the virtual world [2]. It plays a critical role in virtual reality (VR) in terms of quality of immersive experience, usability, and task performance [10]. Several simulation qualities have been identified to influence VBO. ...
... Our lack of a disembodied Body condition (using asynchronous visumotor feedback, for example) may have contributed to the lack of differences between body types, especially considering it has been shown that even within the same condition, individual differences play a role in how embodied a user may feel [22]. Using additional psychometric tests, such as memory or spatial tasks as in [61], or including a full embodiment questionnaire such as [23] would have been informative for our results. ...
... Studies have demonstrated multiple advantages of interacting through a virtual body in VR. For example, Steed et al. [18] demonstrated that being represented by an active self-avatar, compared to a no-avatar condition, results in less mental load when doing a spatial rotation task and subsequently having to recall a sequence of letters. Mohler et al. [9] found that when participants are embodied in a fully tracked avatar, they are better at judging absolute egocentric distances, compared to when not having an avatar. ...
... The impact of using self-representation in VE is not limited to presence, as shown by Steed et al. (2016) which studied how having an avatar would impact the cognitive load in immersive VR. In that study, the authors asked the participants to memorise a pair of letters, perform a spatial rotation exercise (users had to rotate a 3D object mentally), and then recall the pair of letters. ...
Article
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The main goal of this paper is to investigate the effect of different types of self-representations through floating members (hands vs. hands + feet), virtual full body (hands + feet vs. full-body avatar), walking fidelity (static feet, simulated walking, real walking), and number of tracking points used (head + hands, head + hands + feet, head + hands + feet + hip) on the sense of presence and embodiment through questionnaires. The sample consisted of 98 participants divided into a total of six conditions in a between-subjects design. The HTC Vive headset, controllers, and trackers were used to perform the experiment. Users were tasked to find a series of hidden objects in a virtual environment and place them in a travel bag. We concluded that (1) the addition of feet to floating hands can impair the experienced realism (\(p=0.039\)), (2) both floating members and full-body avatars can be used without affecting presence and embodiment (\(p>0.05\)) as long as there is the same level of control over the self-representation, (3) simulated walking scores of presence and embodiment were similar when compared to static feet and real walking tracking data (\(p>0.05\)), and (4) adding hip tracking overhead, hand and feet tracking (when using a full-body avatar) allows for a more realistic response to stimuli (\(p=0.002\)) and a higher overall feeling of embodiment (\(p=0.023\)).
... The system consisted of an HTC Vive headset with a Leap Motion sensor mounted on it for hand tracking and Vive motion controllers with 3D printed mounts fitted around the ankle to track the movement of feet. We tried to represent the use with a semirealistic avatar in VR to help maintain the level of immersion [20][21][22][23]. The experiment space dimensions were 4.4 m x 3.7 m, with the HTC Vive lighthouses set on two opposite corners. ...
... Avatar studies in Virtual Environments (VEs) have empirically validated self-avatar influences on cognitive load (Steed et al., 2016), pain modulation (Romano et al., 2014) and perceptions of self-concept (Yee and Bailenson, 2007a;Heide et al., 2013). These specific applications of avatarinteraction science have been developed from a volume of work which has attempted to define the qualitative feeling of being a virtual self-representation of oneself; the Sense of Embodiment (SoE). ...
Article
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Avatar use on video-conference platforms has found dual purpose in recent times as a potential method for ensuring privacy and improving subjective engagement with remote meeting, provided one can also ensure a minimal loss in the quality of social interaction and sense of personal presence. This work focuses on interactions of this sort through real-time motion captured 3D personalized virtual avatars in a 2D video-conferencing context. Our experiments were designed with the intention of exploring previously defined perceptual illusions that occur with avatar-use in Virtual and Augmented Reality settings, outside of the immersive technological domains where they are normally measured. The research described here was aimed at empirically evaluating three separate dimensions of human-avatar interaction. The first was humans-as-avatars, with experimental conditions that were designed to measure changes to subjective perceptions of self-face ownership and self-concept. The second focus was other-perception, with the unique design of the studies outlined below among the first to measure social presence in a video-call between two human-driven avatars. The third emphasis was on the experiential content involved in avatar use, as there were measurements for emotion induction, fatigue and behavior change included in the data collection. The results describe some evidence for face and body ownership, while participants also reported high levels of social presence with the other avatar, indicating that avatar cameras could be a favorable alternative to non-camera feeds in video conferencing. There were also some useful insights gained regarding emotion elicitation in non-video vs. avatar conditions, as well as avatar-induced behavior change.
... Avatars were found to increase spatial awareness [9], or even to impact perceived effort during a physical task [23]. During cognitive tasks, the effect of seeing an avatar is not clear yet, as it was sometimes found helpful to reduce mental load [42] or having no effect on accuracy [33] depending on the task. There are also an increasing number of applications using full-body avatars, especially social VR applications. ...
Article
In virtual reality, several manipulation techniques distort users' motions, for example to reach remote objects or increase precision. These techniques can become problematic when used with avatars, as they create a mismatch between the real performed action and the corresponding displayed action, which can negatively impact the sense of embodiment. In this paper, we propose to use a dual representation during anisomorphic interaction. A co-located representation serves as a spatial reference and reproduces the exact users' motion, while an interactive representation is used for distorted interaction. We conducted two experiments, investigating the use of dual representations with amplified motion (with the Go-Go technique) and decreased motion (with the PRISM technique). Two visual appearances for the interactive representation and the co-located one were explored. This exploratory study investigating dual representations in this context showed that people globally preferred having a single representation, but opinions diverged for the Go-Go technique. Also, we could not find significant differences in terms of performance. While interacting seemed more important than showing exact movements for agency during out-of-reach manipulation, people felt more in control of the realistic arm during close manipulation.
... The younger adults were more sensitive according to the perception of their own body, since they experienced a strange feeling when no visualization was provided. Previous studies could show that the visualization of a realistic looking avatar lead to better performances and an increased feeling of being present indicated by a more naturalistic interaction, improved spatial perception, more precise distance estimation and less cognitive load [38][39][40]. If the elderly adult's attention was driven to other cues in the virtual environment, those benefits of possessing an own virtual body could not have been used. ...
Article
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Virtual reality (VR) has become a common tool and is often considered for sport-specific purposes. Despite the increased usage, the transfer of VR-adapted skills into the real-world (RW) has not yet been sufficiently studied, and it is still unknown how much of the own body must be visible to complete motoric tasks within VR. In addition, it should be clarified whether older adults also need to perceive their body within VR scenarios to the same extent as younger people extending the usability. Therefore, younger (18-30 years old) and elderly adults (55 years and older) were tested (n = 42) performing a balance-, grasping-and throwing task in VR (HMD based) accompanied with different body visualization types in VR and in the RW having the regular visual input of body's components. Comparing the performances between the age groups, the time for completion, the number of steps (balance task), the subjective estimation of difficulty, the number of errors, and a rating system revealing movements' quality were considered as examined parameters. A one-way ANOVA/Friedmann with repeated measurements with factor [body visualization] was conducted to test the influence of varying body visualizations during task completion. Comparisons between the conditions [RW, VR] were performed using the t-Tests/Wilcoxon tests, and to compare both age groups [young, old], t-Tests for independent samples/Mann-Whitney-U-Test were used. The analyses of the effect of body visualization on performances showed a significant loss in movement's quality when no body part was visualized (p < .05). This did not occur for the elderly adults, for which no influence of the body visualization on their performance could be proven. Comparing both age groups, the elderly adults performed significantly worse than the young age group in both conditions (p < .05). In VR, both groups showed longer times for completion, a higher rating of tasks' difficulty in the balance and throwing task, and less performance quality in the grasping task. Overall, the results suggest using VR for the elderly with caution to the task demands, and the visualization of the body seemed less crucial for generating task completion. In summary, the actual task demands in VR could be successfully performed by elderly adults, even once one has to reckon with losses within movement's quality. Although more different movements should be tested, basic elements are also realizable for elderly adults expanding possible areas of VR applications.
... Virtual Reality (VR) has become an important research topic in human-computer interaction. Over the years, researchers have studied various topics in VR like perception (immersion, presence, cognition) [5], novel input devices [13], locomotion [3], navigation [27], and avatars and virtual humans [21]. More recently, researchers have looked into how VR could be used to simulate real-world situations, for example, for research purposes [14,15] and training [7], and looked in more detail into VR study methodologies [19]. ...
Chapter
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In this paper, we investigate how changes in the saliency of the Virtual Environment (VE) affect our visual attention during different tasks. We investigate if users are attracted to the most salient regions in the VE. This knowledge will help researchers design optimal VR environments, purposefully direct the attention of users, and avoid unintentional distractions. We conducted a user study (N = 30) where participants performed tasks (video watching, object stacking, visual search, waiting) with two different saliency conditions in the virtual environment. Our findings suggest that while participants notice the differences in saliency, their visual attention is not diverted towards the salient regions when they are performing tasks.
... Even the cognitive abilities can be improved by a self-representation through an avatar [16]. Steed et al. [15] showed that users with a self-avatar could better memorize letters. ...
... Memorization tasks in VR can be more efficient than on PC if the person can manipulate objects and is represented by a self-avatar (Steed et al., 2016). This is in line with a positive effect on working memory when tasks are mainly related to spatialization (Gabana et al., 2017). ...
Article
Virtual Reality Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) reached the consumer market and are used for learning purposes. Risks regarding visual fatigue and high cognitive load arise while using HMDs. These risks could impact learning efficiency. Visual fatigue and cognitive load can be measured with eye tracking, a technique that is progressively implemented in HMDs. Thus, we investigate how to assess visual fatigue and cognitive load via eye tracking. We conducted this review based on five research questions. We first described visual fatigue and possible cognitive overload while learning with HMDs. The review indicates that visual fatigue can be measured with blinks and cognitive load with pupil diameter based on thirty-seven included papers. Yet, distinguishing visual fatigue from cognitive load with such measures is challenging due to possible links between them. Despite measure interpretation issues, eye tracking is promising for live assessment. More researches are needed to make data interpretation more robust and document human factor risks when learning with HMDs.
... Moreover, these theories are supported within studies of visuomotor (e.g. when visual and physical movement synchronisation occurs) and visuotactile (associated with vision and touch perceptions) (Gonzalez-Franco et al. 2010;Lenggenhager et al. 2007). As a result of these studies, the impact virtual bodies have on the user responding to the virtual stimuli has been proved (Steed et al. 2016). Consequently, embodiment is mainly accomplished when a physical body is interconnected to a virtual one. ...
Article
This paper proposes the role of an emerging job role within the virtual reality (VR) film production crew. This role we call the Embodiment Director, involves assisting the VR Film Director in the accomplishment of true immersive film experiences through the use of game engines and VR peripherals. The Embodiment Director will manage the inception of haptics and stimuli technologies that allow for the embodiment of humans within a virtual environment, and they must guarantee precise synchronicity between physical and virtual counterparts, while overseeing the safety use of software and hardware during the entire production process of the VR film experiences. This paper offers a contemporary review of the key creative roles within traditional and virtual film production, in order to generate a concise and valid argument for the role of the Embodiment Director supported by autoethnography.
Article
Background Redirected jumping (RDJ) allows users to explore virtual environments (VEs) naturally by scaling a small real-world jump to a larger virtual jump with virtual camera motion manipulation, thereby addressing the problem of limited physical space in VR applications. Previous RDJ studies have mainly focused on detection threshold estimation. However, the effect VE or selfrepresentation (SR) has on the perception or performance of RDJs remains unclear. Methods In this paper, we report experiments to measure the perception (detection thresholds for gains, presence, embodiment, intrinsic motivation, and cybersickness) and physical performance (heart rate intensity, preparation time, and actual jumping distance) of redirected forward jumping under six different combinations of VE (low and high visual richness) and SRs (invisible, shoes, and human-like). Results Our results indicated that the detection threshold ranges for horizontal translation gains were significantly smaller in the VE with high rather than low visual richness. When different SRs were applied, our results did not suggest significant differences in detection thresholds, but it did report longer actual jumping distances in the invisible body case compared with the other two SRs. In the high visual richness VE, the preparation time for jumping with a human-like avatar was significantly longer than that with other SRs. Finally, some correlations were found between perception and physical performance measures. Conclusions All these findings suggest that both VE and SRs influence users' perception and performance in RDJ and must be considered when designing locomotion techniques.
Chapter
VReha ist ein vom BMBF gefördertes Forschungsprojekt, bei dem immersive virtuelle Realität für die Diagnostik und Therapie neuropsychologischer Funktionen genutzt wird. Dabei tauchen die Anwendenden mittels einer VR-Brille (Head Mounted Display HMD) in eine virtuelle Welt ein und interagieren mit ihr. Die Herausforderungen für den Einsatz bei Menschen mit Erkrankungen oder Verletzungen des Gehirns werden thematisiert und innovative technologische Lösungen vorgestellt.
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Sweeping the digital realm in the past few decades, immersive virtual reality (IVR) has attracted much attention from industry and academia. A promising tool for teaching and training, this powerful medium offers access to experiences and places otherwise inaccessible to learners for reasons including finance, time, and safety. Among the factors that influence the IVR experience, presence, immersion, and interactivity are elements directly related to users’ cognitive and affective interactions in IVR. As the rapid development of technology continues to enhance presence, immersion, and interactivity in IVR, the mechanism by which these components promote learning remains underexplored. In this thematic review, we examined how presence, immersion, and interactivity have been defined in relevant studies as well as what scales were employed to measure them. We also reviewed the work of scholars investigating the relation between these elements and objective learning outcomes. Despite the absence of a definitive conclusion stating that enhancing the presence, immersion, and interaction of IVR promotes learning, this chapter nevertheless offers a rich context to review the impacts of these three elements on learning outcomes.
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Socially interactive agents (SIAs) are no longer mere visions for future user interfaces, as 20 years of research and technology development has enabled the use of virtual and physical agents in day-to-day interfaces and environments. This chapter of the ACM "The Handbook on Socially Interactive Agents" reviews research on and technologies involving socially interactive agents, including virtually embodied agents and physically embodied robots, focusing particularly on the appearance of socially interactive agents. It covers the history of the development of these technologies; outlines the design space for the appearance of agents, including what appearance comprises, modalities in which agents are presented, and how agents are constructed; and the features that agents use to support social interaction, including facial and bodily features, those that express demographic characteristics, and issues surrounding realism, appeal, and the uncanny valley. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of open questions surrounding the appearance of socially interactive agents.
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One of the challenges of immersive technology research is that its increasing system complexity makes evaluating the user experience difficult. The use of an electroencephalogram (EEG) has been suggested as a promising approach to understanding the user’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to immersive technology. However, the translation of this method into clear applications for user research remains challenging. To address this challenge, this paper outlines a systematic literature review to identify the applications of EEG measures currently adopted in immersive technology research. The full range of journal articles and major conference proceedings that reference the adoption of EEG measures to address immersive technology usage issues were searched. Based on rigorous inclusion and exclusion criteria, 84 relevant papers were identified and reviewed in the study. This literature review involves analysis of bibliometric data, research contexts, EEG analysis methods, and EEG stimuli. Presented in this paper are research gaps identified and opportunities for future research recommended based on the analysis results. This study contributes to advancing our knowledge about how to collect and analyze EEG data in immersive technology research.
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This paper describes a new measure for presence in immersive virtual environments (VEs) that is based on data that can be unobtrusively obtained during the course of a VE experience. At different times during an experience, a participant will occasionally switch between interpreting the totality of sensory inputs as forming the VE or the real world. The number of transitions from virtual to real is counted, and, using some simplifying assumptions, a probabilistic Markov chain model can be constructed to model these transitions. This model can be used to estimate the equilibrium probability of being “present” in the VE. This technique was applied in the context of an experiment to assess the relationship between presence and body movement in an immersive VE. The movement was that required by subjects to reach out and touch successive pieces on a three-dimensional chess board. The experiment included twenty subjects, ten of whom had to reach out to touch the chess pieces (the active group) and ten of whom only had to click a handheld mouse button (the control group). The results revealed a significant positive association in the active group between body movement and presence. The results lend support to interaction paradigms that are based on maximizing the match between sensory data and proprioception.
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this paper is funded by the U.K. Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), and Department of Trade and Industry, through grant CTA/2 of the London Parallel Applications Centre. Thanks to Anthony Steed for his continued help with the experiments described in this paper. The Virtual Treadmill is the subject of a patent application in the UK and other countries. References
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Our physical bodies play a central role in shaping human experience in the world, understanding of the world, and interactions in the world. This paper draws on theories of embodiment — from psychology, sociology, and philosophy — synthesizing five themes we believe are particularly salient for interaction design: thinking through doing, performance, visibility, risk, and thick practice. We intro- duce aspects of human embodied engagement in the world with the goal of inspiring new interaction design ap- proaches and evaluations that better integrate the physical and computational worlds. Author Keywords Embodiment, bodies, embodied interaction, ubiquitous computing, phenomenology, interaction design
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Co-thought gestures are hand movements produced in silent, noncommunicative, problem-solving situations. In the study, we investigated whether and how such gestures enhance performance in spatial visualization tasks such as a mental rotation task and a paper folding task. We found that participants gestured more often when they had difficulties solving mental rotation problems (Experiment 1). The gesture-encouraged group solved more mental rotation problems correctly than did the gesture-allowed and gesture-prohibited groups (Experiment 2). Gestures produced by the gesture-encouraged group enhanced performance in the very trials in which they were produced (Experiments 2 & 3). Furthermore, gesture frequency decreased as the participants in the gesture-encouraged group solved more problems (Experiments 2 & 3). In addition, the advantage of the gesture-encouraged group persisted into subsequent spatial visualization problems in which gesturing was prohibited: another mental rotation block (Experiment 2) and a newly introduced paper folding task (Experiment 3). The results indicate that when people have difficulty in solving spatial visualization problems, they spontaneously produce gestures to help them, and gestures can indeed improve performance. As they solve more problems, the spatial computation supported by gestures becomes internalized, and the gesture frequency decreases. The benefit of gestures persists even in subsequent spatial visualization problems in which gesture is prohibited. Moreover, the beneficial effect of gesturing can be generalized to a different spatial visualization task when two tasks require similar spatial transformation processes. We concluded that gestures enhance performance on spatial visualization tasks by improving the internal computation of spatial transformations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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Spontaneous gestures that accompany speech are related to both verbal and spatial processes. We argue that gestures emerge from perceptual and motor simulations that underlie embodied language and mental imagery. We first review current thinking about embodied cognition, embodied language, and embodied mental imagery. We then provide evidence that gestures stem from spatial representations and mental images. We then propose the gestures-as-simulated-action framework to explain how gestures might arise from an embodied cognitive system. Finally, we compare this framework with other current models of gesture production, and we briefly outline predictions that derive from the framework.
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A study by Slater, et al., [1995] indicated that naive subjects in an immersive virtual environment experience a higher subjective sense of presence when they locomote by walking-in-place (virtual walking) than when they push-button-fly (along the floor plane). We replicated their study, adding real walking as a third condition. Our study confirmed their findings. We also found that real walking is significantly better than both virtual walking and flying in ease (simplicity, straightforwardness, naturalness) as a mode of locomotion. The greatest difference in subjective presence was between flyers and both kinds of walkers. In addition, subjective presence was higher for real walkers than virtual walkers, but the difference was statistically significant only in some models. Follow-on studies show virtual walking can be substantially improved by detecting footfalls with a head accelerometer. As in the Slater study, subjective presence significantly correlated with subjects' degree of...
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Mediated experience increasingly involves some representation of ourselves, so-called avatars. Avatars are used to facilitate the interaction with others in social media or are integrated as part of interfaces, used for interacting with 3D spatial environments and objects in games and simulations. These avatars vary in the degree to which they are realistic, representative of our sense of self or social status, or embodied, that is connected via the computer interface to the user’s body via sensorimotor interaction. We review some of psychological effects of avatar identification and embodiment including evidence of the effects of avatar identification and embodiment on changes in behavior, arousal, learning, and self-construal. Furthermore, some avatar based changes in perception, cognition, and behavior may carry over and extend into changes into user’s real world perception and behavior.
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Immersive virtual reality allows people to inhabit avatar bodies that differ from their own, and this can produce significant psychological and physiological effects. The concept of homuncular flexibility (Lanier, 2006) proposes that users can learn to control bodies different from their own by changing the relationship between tracked and rendered motion. We examine the effects of remapping movements in the real world onto an avatar that moves in novel ways. In Experiment 1, participants moved their legs more than their arms in conditions where leg movements were more effective for the task. In Experiment 2, participants controlling 3-armed avatars learned to hit more targets than participants in 2-armed avatars. We discuss the implications of embodiment in novel bodies.
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When historian Charles Weiner found pages of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's notes, he saw it as a "record" of Feynman's work. Feynman himself, however, insisted that the notes were not a record but the work itself. In Supersizing the Mind, Andy Clark argues that our thinking doesn't happen only in our heads but that "certain forms of human cognizing include inextricable tangles of feedback, feed-forward and feed-around loops: loops that promiscuously criss-cross the boundaries of brain, body and world." The pen and paper of Feynman's thought are just such feedback loops, physical machinery that shape the flow of thought and enlarge the boundaries of mind. Drawing upon recent work in psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer systems, and beyond, Supersizing the Mind offers both a tour of the emerging cognitive landscape and a sustained argument in favor of a conception of mind that is extended rather than "brain- bound." The importance of this new perspective is profound. If our minds themselves can include aspects of our social and physical environments, then the kinds of social and physical environments we create can reconfigure our minds and our capacity for thought and reason.
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We explore whether a gender-matched, calibrated self-avatar affects the perception of the affordance of stepping off of a ledge, or visual cliff, in an immersive virtual environment. Visual cliffs form demonstrations in many immersive virtual environments because they create compelling environments. Understanding the role that self-avatars contribute to making such environments compelling is an important problem. We conducted an experiment to find the threshold at which subjects on a ledge in an immersive virtual environment would report that they could step gracefully off of the ledge without losing their balance, and compared the threshold height at which their decision changed under the condition of having and not having a self-avatar. The results show that people unrealistically say they can step off a ledge that is approximately 50% of their eyeheight without a self-avatar, and realistically about 25% of their eyeheight with a self-avatar.
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Illusions have historically been of great use to psychology for what they can reveal about perceptual processes. We report here an illusion in which tactile sensations are referred to an alien limb. The effect reveals a three-way interaction between vision, touch and proprioception, and may supply evidence concerning the basis of bodily self-identification.
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The rubber hand illusion is a simple illusion where participants can be induced to report and behave as if a rubber hand is part of their body. The induction is usually done by an experimenter tapping both a rubber hand prop and the participant's real hand: the touch and visual feedback of the taps must be synchronous and aligned to some extent. The illusion is usually tested by several means including a physical threat to the rubber hand. The response to the threat can be measured by galvanic skin response (GSR): those that have the illusion showed a marked rise in GSR. Based on our own and reported experiences with immersive virtual reality (IVR), we ask whether a similar illusion is induced naturally within IVR? Does the participant report and behave as if the virtual arm is part of their body? We show that participants in a HMD-based IVR who see a virtual body can experience similar responses to threats as those in comparable rubber hand illusion experiments. We show that these responses can be negated by replacing the virtual body with an abstract cursor representing the hand, and that the responses are stable under some gradual forced distortion of tracker space so that proprioceptive and visual information are not matched.
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Previous research has shown that egocentric distance estimation suffers from compression in virtual environments when viewed through head mounted displays. Though many possible variables and factors have been investigated, the source of the compression is yet to be fully realized. Recent experiments have hinted in the direction of an unsatisfied feeling of presence being the cause. This paper investigates this presence hypothesis by exploring the benefit of providing self-embodiment to the user through the form of a virtual avatar, presenting an experiment comparing errors in egocentric distance perception through direct-blind walking between subjects with a virtual avatar and without. The result of this experiment finds a significant improvement with egocentric distance estimations for users equipped with a virtual avatar over those without.
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Humans have been shown to perceive and perform actions differently in immersive virtual environments (VEs) as compared to the real world. Immersive VEs often lack the presence of virtual characters; users are rarely presented with a representation of their own body and have little to no experience with other human avatars/characters. However, virtual characters and avatars are more often being used in immersive VEs. In a two-phase experiment, we investigated the impact of seeing an animated character or a self-avatar in a head-mounted display VE on task performance. In particular, we examined performance on three different behavioral tasks in the VE. In a learning phase, participants either saw a character animation or an animation of a cone. In the task performance phase, we varied whether participants saw a co-located animated self-avatar. Participants performed a distance estimation, an object interaction and a stepping stone locomotion task within the VE. We find no impact of a character animation or a self-avatar on distance estimates. We find that both the animation and the self-avatar influenced task performance which involved interaction with elements in the environment; the object interaction and the stepping stone tasks. Overall the participants performed the tasks faster and more accurately when they either had a self-avatar or saw a character animation. The results suggest that including character animations or self-avatars before or during task execution is beneficial to performance on some common interaction tasks within the VE. Finally, we see that in all cases (even without seeing a character or self-avatar animation) participants learned to perform the tasks more quickly and/or more accurately over time.
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The multimodal, 3D-graphical communication platforms known as virtual worlds have their historical roots in multi-user domains/dungeons (MUDs) and virtual reality (VR). Given the extensive research on these technologies and the novelty of virtual worlds as a topic of study in information systems (IS), it behooves us to learn from the concepts, theories and insights generated primarily by other disciplines that have focused on these technologies. Because neither MUDs nor VR have significant organizational application, thus locating them outside of the IS discipline’s purview, very little of this literature has found its way into IS research thus far. This article reviews the extant literature on virtual environments and seeks to make its insights accessible to IS research on virtual worlds. In particular, this will focus on concepts, theories and insights regarding embodiment and presence, which are afforded by the avatar, a distinguishing technological artifact of virtual worlds.
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This paper reviews the concepts of immersion and presence in virtual environments (VEs). We propose that the degree of immersion can be objectively assessed as the characteristics of a technology, and has dimensions such as the extent to which a display system can deliver an inclusive, extensive, surrounding, and vivid illusion of virtual environment to a participant. Other dimensions of immersion are concerned with the extent of body matching, and the extent to which there is a self-contained plot in which the participant can act and in which there is an autonomous response. Presence is a state of consciousness that may be concomitant with immersion, and is related to a sense of being in a place. Presence governs aspects of autonomic responses and higher-level behaviors of a participant in a VE. The paper considers single and multi-participant shared environments, and draws on the experience of Computer-Supported Cooperative Working (CSCW) research as a guide to understanding presence in shared environments, The paper finally outlines the aims of the FIVE Working Group, and the 1995 FIVE Conference in London, UK.
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Virtual Humans are becoming more and more popular and used in many applications such as the entertainment industry (in both film and games) and medical applications. This comprehensive book covers all areas of this growing industry including face and body motion, body modelling, hair simulation, expressive speech simulation and facial communication, interaction with 3D objects, rendering skin and clothes and the standards for Virtual Humans. Written by a team of current and former researchers at MIRALab, University of Geneva or VRlab, EPFL, this book is the definitive guide to the area. Explains the concept of avatars and autonomous virtual actors and the main techniques to create and animate them (body and face). Presents the concepts of behavioural animation, crowd simulation, intercommunication between virtual humans, and interaction between real humans and autonomous virtual humans Addresses the advanced topics of hair representation and cloth animation with applications in fashion design Discusses the standards for Virtual Humans, such as MPEG-4 Face Animation and MPEG-4 Body Animation.
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Thesis (M.S.E.)--University of Washington, 1995. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [82]-87).
Toybox Demo for Oculus Touch. https://youtu.be/ iFEMiyGMa58
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Oculus. Toybox Demo for Oculus Touch. https://youtu.be/ iFEMiyGMa58, 2015. Accessed 6-December-2015.
Toybox Demo for Oculus Touch
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Oculus. Toybox Demo for Oculus Touch. https://youtu.be/ iFEMiyGMa58, 2015. Accessed 6-December-2015.
Walking >walking-in-place >flying, in virtual environments
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M. Usoh, K. Arthur, M. C. Whitton, R. Bastos, A. Steed, M. Slater, and F. P. Brooks, Jr. Walking >walking-in-place >flying, in virtual environments. In Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, SIGGRAPH '99, pages 359-364, New York, NY, USA, 1999. ACM Press/Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.