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Evaluation of the impact of different levels of self-representation and body tracking on the sense of presence and embodiment in immersive VR


The main goal of this paper is to investigate the effect of different types of self-representations through floating members (hands vs. hands + feet), virtual full body (hands + feet vs. full-body avatar), walking fidelity (static feet, simulated walking, real walking), and number of tracking points used (head + hands, head + hands + feet, head + hands + feet + hip) on the sense of presence and embodiment through questionnaires. The sample consisted of 98 participants divided into a total of six conditions in a between-subjects design. The HTC Vive headset, controllers, and trackers were used to perform the experiment. Users were tasked to find a series of hidden objects in a virtual environment and place them in a travel bag. We concluded that (1) the addition of feet to floating hands can impair the experienced realism (\(p=0.039\)), (2) both floating members and full-body avatars can be used without affecting presence and embodiment (\(p>0.05\)) as long as there is the same level of control over the self-representation, (3) simulated walking scores of presence and embodiment were similar when compared to static feet and real walking tracking data (\(p>0.05\)), and (4) adding hip tracking overhead, hand and feet tracking (when using a full-body avatar) allows for a more realistic response to stimuli (\(p=0.002\)) and a higher overall feeling of embodiment (\(p=0.023\)).

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This work is financed by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation - COMPETE 2020 Programme and by National Funds through the Portuguese funding agency, FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia within project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028618 entitled PERFECT - Perceptual Equivalence in virtual Reality For authEntiC Training.

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Correspondence to Guilherme Gonçalves.

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Gonçalves, G., Melo, M., Barbosa, L. et al. Evaluation of the impact of different levels of self-representation and body tracking on the sense of presence and embodiment in immersive VR. Virtual Reality 26, 1–14 (2022).

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