The Impact of Avatar Realism and Eye Gaze Control on Perceived Quality of Communication in a Shared Immersive Virtual Environment

TitleThe Impact of Avatar Realism and Eye Gaze Control on Perceived Quality of Communication in a Shared Immersive Virtual Environment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsGarau M, Slater M, Vinayagamoorhty V, Brogni A, Steed A, Sasse MA
Conference NameProceedings of the SIG-CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Date PublishedApril
AbstractThis paper presents an experiment designed to investigate the impact of visual and behavioral realism in avatars on perceived quality of communication in an immersive virtual environment. Participants were paired by gender and were randomly assigned to a CAVE‘-like system or a head-mounted display. Both were represented by a humanoid avatar in the shared 3D environment. The visual appearance of the avatars was either basic and genderless (like a "match-stick" figure), or more photorealistic and gender-specific. Similarly, eye gaze behavior was either random or inferred from voice, to reflect different levels of behavioral realism. Our comparative analysis of 48 post-experiment questionnaires confirms earlier findings from nonimmersive studies using semi-photorealistic avatars, where inferred gaze significantly outperformed random gaze. However responses to the lower-realism avatar are adversely affected by inferred gaze, revealing a significant interaction effect between appearance and behavior. We discuss the importance of aligning visual and behavioral realism for increased avatar effectiveness.
Posted by mickwalters on Thursday, 19 February, 2009 /

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