Using Behavioral Realism to Estimate Presence: A Study of the Utility of Postural Responses to Motion Stimuli

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Freeman, Jonathan ; Avons, Steve ; Meddis, Ray ; Pearson, Don E. ; Ijsselsteijn, Wijnand
  • Publisher: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press
  • Subject: C800 | C850

We recently reported that direct subjective ratings of the sense of presence are potentially unstable and can be biased by previous judgments of the same stimuli (Freeman et al., 1999). Objective measures of the behavioral realism elicited by a display offer an alternative to subjective ratings. Behavioral measures and presence are linked by the premise that, when observers experience a mediated environment (VE or broadcast) that makes them feel present, they will respond to stimuli within the environment as they would to stimuli in the real world. The experiment presented here measured postural responses to a video sequence filmed from the hood of a car traversing a rally track, using stereoscopic and monoscopic presentation. Results demonstrated a positive effect of stereoscopic presentation on the magnitude of postural responses elicited. Posttest subjective ratings of presence, vection, and involvement were also higher for stereoscopically presented stimuli. The postural and subjective measures were not significantly correlated, indicating that nonproprioceptive postural responses are unlikely to provide accurate estimates of presence. Such postural responses may prove useful for the evaluation of displays for specific applications and in the corroboration of group subjective ratings of presence, but cannot be taken in place of subjective ratings.
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