This paper describes a study to assess the influence of a variety of factors on reported level of presence in immersive virtual environments. It introduces the idea of “stacking depth,” that is, where a participant can simulate the process of entering the virtual environment while already in such an environment, which can be repeated to several levels of depth. An experimental study including 24 subjects was carried out. Half of the subjects were transported between environments by using virtual head-mounted displays, and the other half by going through doors. Three other binary factors were whether or not gravity operated, whether or not the subject experienced a virtual precipice, and whether or not the subject was followed around by a virtual actor. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic representation systems and egocentric/exocentric perceptual positions were assessed by a preexperiment questionnaire. Presence was assessed by the subjects as their sense of “being there,” the extent to which they experienced the virtual environments as more the presenting reality than the real world in which the experiment was taking place, and the extent to which the subject experienced the virtual environments as places visited rather than images seen. A logistic regression analysis revealed that subjective reporting of presence was significantly positively associated with visual and kinesthetic representation systems, and negatively with the auditory system. This was not surprising since the virtual reality system used was primarily visual. The analysis also showed a significant and positive association with stacking level depth for those who were transported between environments by using the virtual HMD, and a negative association for those who were transported through doors. Finally, four of the subjects moved their real left arm to match movement of the left arm of the virtual body displayed by the system. These four scored significantly higher on the kinesthetic representation system than the remainder of the subjects.
Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments – MIT Press
Published: Jan 1, 1994
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