Beyond Replication: Augmenting Social Behaviors in Multi-User Social Virtual Realities

  • Post published:October 16, 2020

Roth D., Kleinbeck C., Feigl T., Mutschler C., Latoschik M. E.:

In: Proceedings of the 25th IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR), Reutlingen, Germany, 2018.

This paper presents a novel approach for the augmentation of social behaviors in virtual reality (VR). We designed three visual transformations for behavioral phenomena crucial to everyday social interactions: eye contact, joint attention, and grouping. To evaluate the approach, we let users interact socially in a virtual museum using a large-scale multi-user tracking environment. Using a between-subject design (N = 125) we formed groups of five participants. Participants were represented as simplified avatars and experienced the virtual museum simultaneously, either with or without the augmentations. Our results indicate that our approach can significantly increase social presence in multi-user environments and that the augmented experience appears more thought-provoking. Furthermore, the augmentations seem also to affect the actual behavior of participants with regard to more eye contact and more focus on avatars/objects in the scene. We interpret these findings as first indicators for the potential of social augmentations to impact social perception and behavior in VR.

DOI: 10.1109/VR.2018.8447550
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