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"Where am I?" Impact of display and content variables on spatial presence and comprehension in virtual environments

Balakrishnan, B., Nikolic, D. and Zikic, N. (2007) "Where am I?" Impact of display and content variables on spatial presence and comprehension in virtual environments. Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, San Francisco, CA.

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Abstract/Summary

Forgetting immediate physical reality and having awareness of one�s location in the simulated world is critical to enjoyment and performance in virtual environments be it an interactive 3D game such as Quake or an online virtual 3d community space such as Second Life. Answer to the question "where am I?" at two levels, whether the locus is in the immediate real world as opposed to the virtual world and whether one is aware of the spatial co-ordinates of that locus, hold the key to any virtual 3D experience. While 3D environments, especially virtual environments and their impact on spatial comprehension has been studied in disciplines such as architecture, it is difficult to determine the relative contributions of specific attributes such as screen size or stereoscopy towards spatial comprehension since most of them treat the technology as monolith (box-centered). Using a variable-centered approach put forth by Nass and Mason (1990) which breaks down the technology into its component variables and their corresponding values as its theoretical basis, this paper looks at the contributions of five variables (Stereoscopy, screen size, field of view, level of realism and level of detail) common to most virtual environments on spatial comprehension and presence. The variable centered approach can be daunting as the increase in the number of variables can exponentially increase the number of conditions and resources required. We overcome this drawback posed by adoption of such a theoretical approach by the use of a fractional factorial design for the experiment. This study has completed the first wave of data collection and starting the next phase in January 2007 and expected to complete by February 2007. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
ID Code:33894

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