Influence of Avatar Appearance on Presence in Social VR

Paul Heidicker, Eike Langbehn, Frank Steinicke
Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (3DUI) (Poster), page 233--234 - 2017
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Social virtual reality (VR) has enormous potential to allow several physically separated users to collaborate in an immersive virtual environment (IVE). These users and their actions are represented by avatars in the IVE. In question is how the appearance of those avatars influences communication and interaction. It might make a difference, if the avatar consists of a complete body representation or if only certain body parts are visible. Moreover, a one-to-one mapping of the user's movements to the avatar's movements might have advantages compared to pre-defined avatar animations. To answer these questions, we compared three different types of avatar appearances in a user study. For this, we used estimations of presence, social presence, and cognitive load. The evaluation showed that motion-controlled avatars with full representation of the avatar body lead to an increased sense of presence. Motion-controlled avatars as well as avatars which have only head and hands visible produced an increased feeling of co-presence and behavioral interdependence. This is interesting, since it states that we do not need a complete avatar body in social VR.

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BibTex references

  author       = "Heidicker, Paul and Langbehn, Eike and Steinicke, Frank",
  title        = "Influence of Avatar Appearance on Presence in Social VR",
  booktitle    = "Proceedings of IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (3DUI) (Poster)",
  pages        = "233--234",
  year         = "2017",
  url          = ""

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