Physiological responses to virtual selves and virtual others

  • Fox J
  • Bailenson J
  • Ricciardi T
ISSN: 1784-9934
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Previous research indicates that photorealistic virtual representations (i.e., agents and avatars) of the self can influence at- titude and behavior change. this study was designed to test participants’ physiological reactions to exercising or still agents that resembled the self or a stranger. a within-subjects experiment tested participants’ (n = 10) skin conductance in response to running and loitering virtual selves (created from participants’ photographs) and virtual others. Participants entered a fully immersive virtual environment and observed the agents as their physiological response was measured. arousal was greatest when exposed to a running virtual self or a loitering virtual other. the finding that the virtual self causes physio- logical arousal may explain why a running virtual self has been shown in previous research to increase exercise behavior after exposure. implications for the development of Virtual Reality exercise treatments and other virtual therapies are dis- cussed. Keywords:




Fox, J., Bailenson, J. N., & Ricciardi, T. (2012). Physiological responses to virtual selves and virtual others. Journal of CyberTherapie & Rehabilitation, 5(1), 69–72.

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