This paper argues that a scientific basis for “presence” as it's usually understood in virtual environments research, can not be established on the basis of postexperience presence questionnaires alone. To illustrate the point, an arbitrary mental attribute called “colorfulness of the experience” is conjured up, and a set of questions administered to 74 respondents with an online questionnaire. The results suggested that colorfulness of yesterday's experiences was associated with the extent to which a person accomplished their tasks, and also associated with yesterday being a “good”, “pleasant”, but not frustrating day. The meaning lessness of this analysis illustrates that the equivalent methodology used by presence researchers, may, similarly, bring into being the idea of presence in the minds of VE participants. However, it is argued that there can be no evidence on this methodological basis that presence played any role in their actual mental activity or behavior at the time of the experience. It is concluded that presence researchers must move away from heavy reliance on questionnaires in order to make any progress in this area.

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