This paper considers some first principles that might provide a basis for an objective science of experience (presence or immersion). Dimensions that are considered include classical Newtonian measures of the distal stimulus, changes in neural mechanisms reflecting the proximal stimulus, information theoretic measures of the statistical properties of events, and functional properties related to intentions and abilities. Gibson's ecological framework is suggested as a promising functional approach for defining the reality of experience in relation to the problem of designing virtual environments. This approach emphasizes the tight coordination between perception and action and fixes the measurement coordinate system relative to the capacity for action.

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