Abstract

The aim of the present study was to develop a pictorial presence scale using self-assessment-manikins (SAM). The instrument assesses presence sub-dimensions (self-location and possible actions) as well as presence determinants (attention allocation, spatial situation model, higher cognitive involvement, and suspension of disbelief). To qualitatively validate the scale, think-aloud protocols and interviews (n = 12) were conducted. The results reveal that the SAM items are quickly filled out as well as easily, intuitively, and unambiguously understood. Furthermore, the instrument's validity and sensitivity was quantitatively examined in a two-factorial design (n = 317). Factors were medium (written story, audio book, video, and computer game) and distraction (non-distraction vs. distraction). Factor analyses reveal that the SAM presence dimensions and determinants closely correspond to those of the MEC Spatial Presence Questionnaire, which was used as a comparison measure. The findings of the qualitative and quantitative validation procedures show that the Pictorial Presence SAM successfully assesses spatial presence. In contrast to the verbal questionnaire data (MEC), the significant distraction–effect suggests that the new scale is even more sensitive. This points out that the scale can be a useful alternative to existing verbal presence self-report measures.

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