Bailenson, J.N., & Yee, N. (2006). A longitudinal study of task performance, head movements, subjective report, simulator sickness, and transformed social interaction in collaborative virtual environments. PRESENCE: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 15(6).
Empirical research on human behavior in collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) is in its infancy. Historically, one of the more valuable tools social scientists have used to evaluate new forms of media is longitudinal studies that examine user behavior over an extended period of time. In the current study, three triads of participants came to the lab for 15 sessions over a ten week period to collaborate for approximately 45 minutes per session. We examined nonverbal behavior, task performance on verbal tasks, and subjective ratings of presence, copresence, simulator sickness, and entitativity over time. Furthermore, we examined two types of transformed social interaction: nonverbal mimicry and facial similarity. Results demonstrated substantial changes in task performance, subjective ratings, nonverbal behavior, and simulator sickness over time as participants became familiar with the system. Furthermore, transforming avatar appearance to increase facial similarity sometimes improved task performance. We discuss implications for research on CVEs.