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Training presence: the importance of virtual reality experience on the "sense of being there".

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ULHT, Campo Grande, Lisbon, Portugal.


Nature and origin of presence are still unclear. Although it can be characterized, under a neurophysiological perspective, as a process resulting from a synchrony between cognitive and perceptive systems, the multitude of associated processes reduces the chances of brain mapping presence. In this way, our study was designed in order to understand the possible role of VR experience on presence in a virtual environment. For our study, 16 participants (M=28.39 years; SD=13.44) of both genders without computer experience were selected. The study design consisted of two assessments (initial and final), where the participants were evaluated with BFI, PQ, ITQ, QC, MCSDS-SF, STAI, visual attention and behavioral measures after playing an first person shooter (FPS) game. In order to manipulate the level of VR experience the participants were trained on, a different FPS was used during the 12 weekly sessions of 30 minutes. Results revealed significant differences between the first and final assessment for presence (F(1,15)=11.583; MSE=775.538; p<01) and immersion scores (F(1,15)=6.234; MSE=204.962; p<05), indicating higher levels of presence and immersion in the final assessment. No statistical significant results were obtained for cybersickness or the behavioral measures. In summary, our results showed that training and the subsequent higher computer experience levels can increase immersion and presence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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