How augmented reality and avatars could change the way we interact

6-3-2019 augvr x
Co-author Mark Miller works with lab manager Talia Weiss to run through the experiment during a testing phase. Image: L. A. Cicero

According to researchers at Stanford University, layering computer-generated content, like someone’s avatar, onto a real-world environment will influence people’s behavior as if that person were really present. The researchers described the results of three recent experiments on the impact of [augmented reality] on social interactions.

[Researcher Jeremy] Bailenson’s group recruited 218 subjects for three studies. In the first two scenarios, a virtual avatar named Chris sat in one of two real chairs, and subjects were required to interact with him. One experiment focused on social inhibition, which is why many people will struggle with more challenging tasks if someone is observing them. The same held true in an AR setting; subjects performed worse on a challenging task if Chris was in their AR field of vision.

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The second experiment tested whether people wearing AR headsets would avoid the chair where Chris was sitting, as opposed to sitting on top of him. All of them avoided that chair. The third experiment focused on social connections, specifically how one person using AR goggles impacts their conversation with another person not wearing them. Subjects wearing the AR goggles reported feeling less socially connected to the other person.

Read full, original post: Augmented reality changes how people interact and communicate, study finds

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