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Journal Articles Frontiers in Virtual Reality Year : 2024

Real human touch: performer-facilitated touch enhances presence and embodiment in immersive performance

Abstract

Despite being an embodied medium, virtual reality (VR) prioritizes vision and sound over the other senses. While touch has been demonstrated to foster a sense of presence and embodiment, most haptic research in VR focuses on uncanny vibration motors or limited experiences of touch with simple props. Meanwhile, immersive performances such as Eve 3.0 incorporate performer-facilitated touch in novel ways to evoke a complete and social experience of human touch in VR. In response, we conducted a mixed-methods study to investigate the experience of performer-facilitated touch in a 360° video segment from the immersive performance Eve 3.0 . Using a 3 × 2 factorial design, we compared touch from a diary prop and performer in festival and laboratory settings. We found that performer-facilitated touch increased realistic behaviours and questionnaire measures of social presence, embodiment, and tactile realism. The setting also had a significant effect with festival participants demonstrating significantly more behaviours indicating presence, particularly in the no-touch condition. Participant descriptions reveal that in addition to touch, a rich narrative and vivid visuals of social interaction were just as important in immersing participants in the experience and making them feel present. We find that participant experiences are a co-creation situated at the intersection of artefact and context that require a willing suspension of disbelief. The authentic setting and performance artefact afforded a deep understanding of the rich and complex experience of human touch in immersive performance.
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hal-04460961 , version 1 (15-02-2024)

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John Desnoyers-Stewart, Margherita Bergamo Meneghini, Ekaterina R Stepanova, Bernhard E Riecke. Real human touch: performer-facilitated touch enhances presence and embodiment in immersive performance. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2024, 4, ⟨10.3389/frvir.2023.1336581⟩. ⟨hal-04460961⟩
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