Stanford University

A Systematic Review of Social Presence: Definition, Antecedents, and Implications

Oh, S.Y., Bailenson, J.N. & Welch, G.F. A Systematic Review of Social Presence: Definition, Antecedents, and Implications (2018), Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 5 (14), 1-34. doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00114

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Abstract

Social presence, or the feeling of being there with a “real” person, is a crucial component of interactions that take place in virtual reality. This paper reviews the concept, antecedents, and implications of social presence, with a focus on the literature regarding the predictors of social presence. The article begins by exploring the concept of social presence, distinguishing it from two other dimensions of presence—telepresence and self-presence. After establishing the definition of social presence, the article offers a systematic review of 233 separate findings identified from 152 studies that investigate the factors (i.e., immersive qualities, contextual differences, and individual psychological traits) that predict social presence. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of heightened social presence and when it does and does not enhance one's experience in a virtual environment.

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