A Psychophysical Experiment Regarding Components of the Plausibility Illusion Academic Article uri icon


  • We report on the design and results of an experiment investigating factors influencing Slater's Plausibility Illusion (Psi) in virtual environments (VEs). Slater proposed Psi and Place Illusion (PI) as orthogonal components of virtual experience which contribute to realistic response in a VE. PI corresponds to the traditional conception of presence as "being there," so there exists a substantial body of previous research relating to PI, but very little relating to Psi. We developed this experiment to investigate the components of plausibility illusion using subjective matching techniques similar to those used in color science. Twenty-one participants each experienced a scenario with the highest level of coherence (the extent to which a scenario matches user expectations and is internally consistent), then in eight different trials chose transitions from lower-coherence to higher-coherence scenarios with the goal of matching the level of Psi they felt in the highest-coherence scenario. At each transition, participants could change one of the following coherence characteristics: the behavior of the other virtual humans in the environment, the behavior of their own body, the physical behavior of objects, or the appearance of the environment. Participants tended to choose improvements to the virtual body before any other improvements. This indicates that having an accurate and well-behaved representation of oneself in the virtual environment is the most important contributing factor to Psi. This study is the first to our knowledge to focus specifically on coherence factors in virtual environments.


publication date

  • 2017