A Comparative Study of Sense of Presence of Traditional Virtual Reality and Immersive Environments

Max M. North, Sarah M. North


User experience is a critical component in the development of virtual environment systems and applications. To create an effective and efficient user experience for virtual environment systems, it is imperative to conduct empirical studies to explore factors that contribute to a heightened sense of presence, or immersion, for users, who increasingly demand an experience in a virtual environment that seems as real as possible. The primary hypothesis of this study is that participants will experience higher levels of presence in an Immersive Visualization Environment (IVE) than in a Traditional Virtual Reality Environment (TVRE). The empirical methodology consists of two different experiments designed, developed, and implemented using seventy participants. A simulated virtual airplane scenario was created and conducted for each participant. After completion of each simulation session, each participant was given a questionnaire that measured the participant’s sense of presence in either virtual or real environments. Analysis of the collected data indicated that there was a statistically significant difference in the level of presence experienced by participants between the TVRE and IVE systems. The primary conclusion is that participants experienced a higher sense of presence in the IVE experiment when compared with the TVRE experiment, indicating significantly more natural and richer user experience through the IVE system’s interface.


Sense of presence; Immersive environments; Virtual reality

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v20i0.1168

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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