ct 14(1): e4

Research Article

Effect of avatars and viewpoints on performance in virtual world: efficiency vs. telepresence

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/ct.1.1.e4,
        author={Y.  Rybarczyk and T. Coelho and T. Cardoso and R. de Oliveira},
        title={Effect of avatars and viewpoints on performance in virtual world: efficiency vs. telepresence},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Creative Technologies},
        keywords={telepresence, mapping, body ownership, avatar, viewpoint, affordances, virtual environments, NUI.},
  • Y. Rybarczyk
    T. Coelho
    T. Cardoso
    R. de Oliveira
    Year: 2014
    Effect of avatars and viewpoints on performance in virtual world: efficiency vs. telepresence
    DOI: 10.4108/ct.1.1.e4
Y. Rybarczyk1,*, T. Coelho1, T. Cardoso1, R. de Oliveira2
  • 1: Electrotechnical Engineering Department, New University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2: Department of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University, UK
*Contact email: y.rybarczyk@fct.unl.pt


An increasing number of our interactions are mediated through e-technologies. In order to enhance the human’s feeling of presence into these virtual environments, also known as telepresence, the individual is usually embodied into an avatar. The natural adaptation capabilities, underlain by the plasticity of the body schema, of the human being make a body ownership of the avatar possible, in which the user feels more like his/her virtual alter ego than himself/herself. However, this phenomenon only occurs under specific conditions. Two experiments are designed to study the human’s feeling and performance according to a scale of natural relationship between the participant and the avatar. In both experiments, the human-avatar interaction is carried out by a Natural User Interface (NUI) and the individual’s performance is assessed through a behavioural index, based on the concept of affordances, and a questionnaire of presence The first experiment shows that the feeling of telepresence and ownership seem to be greater when the avatar’s kinematics and proportions are close to those of the user. However, the efficiency to complete the task is higher for a more mechanical and stereotypical avatar. The second experiment shows that the manipulation of the viewpoint induces a similar difference across the sessions. Results are discussed in terms of the neurobehavioral processes underlying performance in virtual worlds, which seem to be based on ownership when the virtual artefact ensures a preservation of sensorimotor contingencies, and simple geometrical mapping when the conditions become more artificial.