Stanford University

How immersive is enough?
A meta-analysis of the effect of immersive technology on user presence

Cummings, J.J., Bailenson, J.N. (2015). How immersive is enough? A meta-analysis of the effect of immersive technology on user presence. Media Psychology. 1-38.

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Abstract

The concept of presence, or "being there" is a frequently emphasized factor in immersive mediated environments. It is often assumed that greater levels of immersive quality elicit higher levels of presence, in turn enhancing the effectiveness of a mediated experience. To investigate this assumption the current meta-analysis synthesizes decades of empirical research examining the effect of immersive system technology on user experiences of presence. Aggregating 115 effect sizes from 83 studies, it finds that technological immersion has a medium-sized effect on presence. Additionally, results show that increased levels of user-tracking, the use of stereoscopic visuals, and wider fields of view of visual displays are significantly more impactful than improvements to most other immersive system features, including quality of visual and auditory content. These findings are discussed in light of theoretical accounts of the presence construct as well as practical implications for design.

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