People's perception and action in immersive virtual environments
Immersive virtual environments (IVEs) have many applications in the real world, especially with the development of commodity level displays like the Oculus Rift. For these applications to be successful, IVEs must have enough fidelity so that people can behave similarly in a virtual world to the real world. The research here compares people’s performance in virtual environments in order to that in the real world to evaluate the fidelity of virtual environments. We started from a distance perception task. Distance perception is fundamental in the real world. In this task, we manipulated the presence or absence of a self-avatar. However, our results were unable to find any effect of a self-avatar on distance estimation. Rather, we found that scanning and training significantly improved performance on distance perception. We next studied affordance judgments, where body scale might be important. Our results showed that a self-avatar provides critical information during affordance judgments, and that requiring people to perform an action make people’s performance closer to real world behavior. These results are important because they demonstrate circumstances in which a self-avatar improves the fidelity of a virtual environment.