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Self-Avatars in Immersive Virtual Environments as a Tool to investigate Embodied Perception


Mohler,  BJ
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Mohler, B. (2010). Self-Avatars in Immersive Virtual Environments as a Tool to investigate Embodied Perception. Talk presented at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität: Fachbereich 10 Mathematik und Informatik. Münster, Germany.

A rendering of a representation of one's own body in a head mounted display (HMD) virtual environment (VE) is a useful tool for investigating embodied perception. Currently, few HMD VE systems display a rendering of the users own body. Subjectively, this often leads to a sense of disembodiment in the VE. In a recent study, we found that the experience with an avatar changed the typical pattern of distance underestimation seen in many HMD studies. Users showed an increase in distance estimations with avatar experience, especially when the avatar was animated in correspondence with their own body-movements. Additionally, we investigated the impact of experience with an animated avatar on other common tasks within a HMD VE (locomotion, object interaction and social interaction). We found that pre-exposure to an animated avatar had no significant effect on these behaviors. Most recently we investigated the impact of self-avatars on the ability of multi-users in a HMD VE to communicate. We found that, especially when in 3rd person perspective, the animation of the avatars increased the rate of communication. We believe that immersive VEs provide great potential to further investigate embodied perception.