Immersion, Telepresence, and Digital Virtual Presence in Metaverses

Immersion, Telepresence, and Digital Virtual Presence in Metaverses

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6351-0.ch005
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This chapter presents and discusses themes such as Immersion, Telepresence, and Digital Virtual Presence in Metaverses (this latest one being a theoretical construction coming from the context of the research developed by GPe-dU UNISINOS/CNPq) and the possibilities that arise from the action and interaction of an avatar in a 3D Digital Virtual World constructed in metaverses. We present some of the concepts that contribute to a reflection on social presence and the sense of proximity in metaverses, and the importance of immersion and relational social presence for the learning process. Both are enabled through interaction via avatar, in a combination of telepresence and digital virtual presence. Some of the subtopics presented are: Presence and Proximity; Relational Presence and Social Presence; Telepresence and Digital Virtual Presence; Immersion and Tele-immersion, as well as a brief conclusion to the chapter.
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Presence And Proximity

We cannot talk about presence and proximity without addressing the mental models we have built throughout our lives. We immediately think of being together as physically beside someone present, in the same time and space. There is then a direct association to the physical body, and the notion of “being present” and “being near”. Notwithstanding Trein (2010), notes that the feelings of presence and proximity, even when strongly associated to the physical body, may also occurs in other ways. For example, when we are physically distant from those we love, we can feel closer to them when we look at a photo, listen to a certain song or touch a specific object related to the absent person, meaning we can bring the beloved person’s presence to us. When we receive a letter from someone we care for we can feel and wonder how they would be reading those words to us, and the same happens when we perceive scents, listen to certain music, we somehow remember and can even feel a presence, or someone’s proximity. This feeling of having another person there through our memories, feelings or imagination is considered to be the first type of virtual presence we know, because “virtual is what potentially exists, not in action” (Lévy, 1996, p.15). In this way we virtualize people we love, with their bodies, voices, meaning their presence.

“Presence” has been widely investigated by Lombard and Ditton (1997), who understand it as a perceptive illusion, not a mediation one. In their studies, the authors carried out a vast revision of the production of knowledge under presence and came up with six intertwined but distinct conceptualizations:

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