An experiment was conducted to investigate whether manipulation of the sensory cues provided in a virtual-reality context would affect performance of a reaching task and its associated phenomenology. Performance was measured by speed (the time taken to reach out and touch a virtually presented visual target) and accuracy (the distance of the fingertip from the center of the virtual target). Phenomenological experience was measured via questionnaires. The cues manipulated were the visual realism of the virtual hand (fidelity), whether the virtual fingertip was seen to penetrate the virtual target or not (constraint), and whether the feedback given on contact with the virtual target was tactile or auditory (feedback). We found that better hand fidelity speeded movement, increased presence, and reduced disorientation. In contrast, the constraint manipulation affected touch accuracy and disorientation. Tactile feedback enhanced the sense of presence and reduced disorientation, compared with auditory feedback.

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