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Aspects of visual avatar appearance: self-representation, display type, and uncanny valley

Authors
  • Hepperle, Daniel1, 2
  • Purps, Christian Felix1
  • Deuchler, Jonas1
  • Wölfel, Matthias1, 2
  • 1 Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences,
  • 2 University of Hohenheim,
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Visual Computer
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Jun 17, 2021
Pages
1–18
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00371-021-02151-0
PMID: 34177022
PMCID: PMC8211459
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Article
License
Unknown

Abstract

The visual representation of human-like entities in virtual worlds is becoming a very important aspect as virtual reality becomes more and more “social”. The visual representation of a character’s resemblance to a real person and the emotional response to it, as well as the expectations raised, have been a topic of discussion for several decades and have been debated by scientists from different disciplines. But as with any new technology, the findings may need to be reevaluated and adapted to new modalities. In this context, we make two contributions which may have implications for how avatars should be represented in social virtual reality applications. First, we determine how default and customized characters of current social virtual reality platforms appear in terms of human likeness, eeriness, and likability, and whether there is a clear resemblance to a given person. It can be concluded that the investigated platforms vary strongly in their representation of avatars. Common to all is that a clear resemblance does not exist. Second, we show that the uncanny valley effect is also present in head-mounted displays, but—compared to 2D monitors—even more pronounced.

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