Virtual Human Interaction Lab – Stanford University

{ Publications: Browse by Topic }


- Immersive Virtual Reality

A hardware setup, usually featuring a head-mounted display, that tracks a user's physical movements and updates the digital environment accordingly.

- Agents & Avatars

Digital representations that may take human or other forms. Agents are controlled by computer algorithms; avatars are controlled by humans.

- Collaborative Virtual Environments

Virtual environments where multiple, geographically distant individuals can interact.

- Online Virtual Worlds

Online virtual environments, such as massively multiplayer online games (MMOs or MMORPGs) or Second Life, where users in different physical locations can interact.

- Qualitative Research

Examining virtual reality using qualitative methods.


- Transformed Social Interaction

Novel techniques that permit changing the nature of social interaction providing system designers and/or users with methods to enhance or degrade interpersonal communication.

- Proteus Effect

The process by which an individual's behavior conforms to their digital self-representation.

- Doppelgangers

A digital, photorealistic representation that is designed to look just like you. Our research shows that these digital self-models can influence your behavior in the physical world.

- Digital Chameleons

Virtual humans that can synchronize their nonverbal cues with other humans or virtual humans throughout the course of an interaction. This concept is derived from Chartrand and Bargh's chameleon effect.


- Nonverbals

Virtual environments can be used to study communication via body language, eye gaze, proxemics, and other nonverbal cues.

- Emotions

The detection and representation of human emotion in digital environments.

- Presence

The sensation of "being there" or feeling present in a given environment, specifically digital environments.

- Media Richness/Realism

Comparing the effects of media and mediated stimuli of varying richness and realism.

Areas of Study

- Environmental Behavior

Use of avatars and virtual reality simulations to encourage people to reexamine their personal energy behavior.

- Consumer Behavior

Using a combination of software and hardware to monitor and predict consumer decisions, preferences, and real life consumption behaviors.

- Sex, Gender, Race, & Age

Research on encountering, interacting with, or embodying virtual humans with various demographic and psychological features.

- Health

Health-related virtual environments, their applications, and their effects on real life health behaviors.

- Law

Courtroom applications of virtual environments.

- Learning/Education

Learning in digital environments.

- Political Science

The effects of digital manipulations on political opinion.


- Methods

Methods employed in research on virtual environments.

- Facetracking

The use of digitally and non-invasively tracked facial movement to predict human behavior.

- Physiological Data

Monitoring users' physiological changes while they are immersed in virtual environments.

- Haptics

Technology that allows users to feel and touch virtual objects.

- Machine Learning

Employing computer algorithms to predict human behavior.