Abstract

This paper reviews the concepts of immersion and presence in virtual environments (VEs). We propose that the degree of immersion can be objectively assessed as the characteristics of a technology, and has dimensions such as the extent to which a display system can deliver an inclusive, extensive, surrounding, and vivid illusion of virtual environment to a participant. Other dimensions of immersion are concerned with the extent of body matching, and the extent to which there is a self-contained plot in which the participant can act and in which there is an autonomous response. Presence is a state of consciousness that may be concomitant with immersion, and is related to a sense of being in a place. Presence governs aspects of autonomie responses and higher-level behaviors of a participant in a VE. The paper considers single and multiparticipant shared environments, and draws on the experience of ComputerSupported Cooperative Working (CSCW) research as a guide to understanding presence in shared environments. The paper finally outlines the aims of the FIVE Working Group, and the 1995 FIVE Conference in London, UK.

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