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Presence Research

April 26, 2010

Presence research in the MINDLab is an ongoing program of interest.  This research seeks to understand the psychological underpinnings of the sensation of actually being in a virtual location when immersed in a digital medium.  Greater immersion in a medium (e.g., larger screens, more realistic graphics and sound, etc.) tends to lead the user to become less conscious of their physical surroundings, and more deeply conscious of the mediated world.

The degree of presence in a mediated environment can be assessed using self-report measures, by observing behaviors, and by recording bodily states such as heart rate and brainwave activity.  The MINDLab has been utilizing a life-size virtual roller coaster for our recent presence research.  Using this medium, we have been studying the bodily responses to increased presence.  These include changes in heart rate at different points in the ride, changes in perspiration and muscle activity, changes in brain activity, and body sway.

Our goal is to understand how a mediated environment can create psychological and physical responses comparable to the real world. We have also begun to explore the link between presence and the influence of context on memory.

Team:

  • Eui Jun Jeong
  • Dr. Frank Biocca
  • Dr. Corey Bohil

Funding:
AT&T Endowment

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