Experiencing the presence in the passive virtual environment

N. V. Averbukh


In the paper we examine the presence in the passive virtual environment. This approach looks more realistic in the light of analysis of intellectual activity in the VR. The main tool used in the paper is the structured interview. The structured interview based on the main types and components of presence, and on the actions of the subject during the virtual session, was tested in the active virtual environment.

Interview questions related to the spatial and social presence, and distraction factors and the embodiment which is a component of the spatial presence.

We used so called “Kohs' block test” that is a subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale as the virtual environment. During the experiment, the solution time and the effectiveness (correctness) of the solution were recorded. After the experiment, the subjects were offered a structured interview. The answers of the subjects to the interview were translated into dichotomous scales. The main objective of the paper is the relationship between the answers to various interview questions, as well as between the answers to the interview and the effectiveness of solving the test. A significant connection was found between the experienced spatial presence and the embodiment. The embodiment was expressed in the desire of the subjects to move virtual blocks with their hands during the session, as if they were real, and not to use a controller. The answers to the other interview questions turned out to be unrelated. Being aware of where the Other (experimenter) is who is not represented in the virtual environment does not affect the experience of spatial presence. Thus, experiencing the social presence of another person who is not connected to the virtual environment does not prevent participants from feeling themselves in the virtual environment. In addition, the presence was not found to be related either to the decision time or to the correctness of the decision.

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