Media Presence and Inner Presence: The Sense of Presence in Virtual Reality Technologies

Coelho, Dr. C. and Tichon, Prof. J.G. and Hine, Dr. T.J. and Wallis, Dr. G.M. and Riva, Prof. G. (2006) Media Presence and Inner Presence: The Sense of Presence in Virtual Reality Technologies. [Book Chapter]

Full text available as:



Abstract. Presence is widely accepted as the key concept to be considered in any research involving human interaction with Virtual Reality (VR). Since its original description, the concept of presence has developed over the past decade to be considered by many researchers as the essence of any experience in a virtual environment. The VR generating systems comprise two main parts: a technological component and a psychological experience. The different relevance given to them produced two different but coexisting visions of presence: the rationalist and the psychological/ecological points of view. The rationalist point of view considers a VR system as a collection of specific machines with the necessity of the inclusion of the concept of presence. The researchers agreeing with this approach describe the sense of presence as a function of the experience of a given medium (Media Presence). The main result of this approach is the definition of presence as the perceptual illusion of non-mediation produced by means of the disappearance of the medium from the conscious attention of the subject. At the other extreme, there is the psychological or ecological perspective (Inner Presence). Specifically, this perspective considers presence as a neuropsychological phenomenon, evolved from the interplay of our biological and cultural inheritance, whose goal is the control of the human activity. Given its key role and the rate at which new approaches to understanding and examining presence are appearing, this chapter draws together current research on presence to provide an up to date overview of the most widely accepted approaches to its understanding and measurement.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Additional Information:Emerging Communication Series. Full book available online here:
Keywords:Presence, Virtual Reality, Media Presence, Inner Presence, Activity Theory, Telepresence
Subjects:Psychology > Applied Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction
ID Code:5965
Deposited By: Riva, Prof. Giuseppe
Deposited On:10 Mar 2008 14:57
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

[1] W. A. Ijsselsteijn, H. Ridder, J. Freeman, & S. E. Avons, Presence: concept, determinants and measurement. Proceedings of SPIE, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging. San Jose, CA, 2000.

[2] R. S. Kalawsky, S. T. Bee, & S. P. Nee, Human factors evaluation techniques to aid understanding of virtual interfaces. BT Technology Journal, 17, 128-141, 1999.

[3] T. B. Sheridan, Musings on telepresence and virtual presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1, 120-126, 1992.

[4] J. S. Steuer, Defining virtual reality: dimensions determining telepresence. Journal of Communucation, 4, 73-93, 1992.

[5] J. M. Loomis, Distal attribution and presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1, 113-119, 1992a.

[6] T. Mazuryk, & M. Gervautz, Virtual reality. History, applications, technology and future. Technical Report. TR-186-2-96-06. Institute of Computer Graphics. Technical University of Vienna, 1992.

[7] M. Lombard, Resources for the study of presence: Presence explication, 2000. Online:

[8] J. M. Loomis, Understanding synthetic experience must begin with the analysis of ordinary perceptual experience. Proceedings on Research Frontiers in Virtual Reality (pp. 54-57). California: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1993.

[9] M. Huang, & N. Alessi, Presence as an emotional experience. In J.D. Hoffman, H.M. Robb & D. Stredney (Eds), Medicine meets virtual reality: The Convergence of Physical and Informational Technologies Options for a New Era in Healthcare. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 1999.

[10] G. Riva and J.A. Waterworth, Presence and the Self: A cognitive neuroscience approach. Presence-Connect, (2003), 3(1). Online:

[11] G. Riva, J.A. Waterworth, and E.L. Waterworth, The Layers of Presence: a bio-cultural approach to understanding presence in natural and mediated environments. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7(4): p. 405-419, 2004.

[12] G. Riva, F. Davide, and W.A. IJsselsteijn, eds. Being There: Concepts, effects and measurements of user presence in synthetic environments. Emerging Communication: Studies on New Technologies and Practices in Communication, ed. G. Riva and F. Davide. Ios Press: Amsterdam, 2003. Online:

[13] Machover, C., & Tice, S.E. (1994). Virtual Reality. IEEE Computer Applications and Graphics, 14, 15-16, 1993.

[14] K. Pimentel, & K. Teixeira, Virtual Reality. Through the New Looking Glass. New York: Windcrest/McGraw-Hill, 1993.

[15] M. Slater & M. Usoh, Representations systems, perceptual position, and presence in immersive virtual environments. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 2, 221-23, 1993.

[16] R. S. Kalawsky, The validity of presence as a reliable human performance metric in immersive environments. Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Presence, Delft, Netherlands, 2000.

[17] M. Usoh, C. Alberto, & M. Slater, Presence: experiments in the psychology of virtual environments. 1996. Online:,

[18] B. G. Witmer, & M. J. Singer, Measuring presence in virtual environments: a presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 7, 225-240, 1998.

[19] R. S. Kalawsky, A comprehensive virtual environment laboratory facility. In R.A. Earnshaw, M.A. Gigante & H. Jones (Eds.), Virtual Reality Sistems, (pp.77-89). San Diego: Academic Press, 1993.

[20] M. Usoh, E. Catena, S. Arman, & M. Slater, Presence questionnaires in reality, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 9, 497-503, 2000.

[21] J.M. Loomis, Presence and distal attribution: phenomenology, determinants, and assessment. Human vision, visual processing, and digital display III, 1666, 590-594, 1992b.

[22] V. Bruce, & P. R. Green, Visual perception physiology, psychology and ecology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London, 1985.

[23] P. Zahorik, & R. L. Jenison, Presence as being-in-the-world. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 7, 78-89, 1998.

[24] J. J. Gibson, The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979.

[25] C. Hand, Other faces of virtual reality. Proceedings of the east-west international conference on multimedia, hypermadia and virtual reality (69-74). Moscow, Russia, 1994b.

[26] M. J. Schuemie, P. van der Straaten, M. Krijn, & C.A.P.G. van der Mast, Research on presence in VR: a survey. Cyberpsychology and behavior, 4, 183-201 2001.

[27] J. A. Waterworth, & E. L. Waterworth, The meaning of presence. Presence-Connect, 3, 3, 2003.

[28] J. V. Draper, D. B. Kaber, & J. M. Usher, Speculations on the value of telepresence. Cyberpsychology & Behavior. 2, 349-362, 1999.

[29] Schubert, T., Friedmann, F., & H. Regenbrecht, Embodied presence in virtual environments. In R. Paton & I. Neilson (Eds.), Visual representations and interpretations, pp. 268-278. London: Springer-Verlag, 1999.

[30] C. Heeter, Being there: the subjective experience of presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1, 262-271, 1992.

[31] C. Hand, From dreams to reality. Proceedings of the 1st UK VR-SIG Conference, Nottingham University, UK, 1994 march.

[32] C. D. Murray, J. Fox, & S. Pettifer, Absorption, dissociation, locus of control and presence in virtual reality. Computers in Human Behavior, in press.

[33] H. G. Hoffman, J. Prothero, M. J. Wells, & J. Groen, Virtual chess: meaning enhances user’s sense of presence in virtual environments. International. Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. 10, 251-263, 1998.

[34] W. Barfield, S. Weghorst, The sense of presence within virtual environments: a conceptual framework. In G. Salvendy & M. Smith (Eds.), Human computer interaction: aplications and case studies, pp. 699-704, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1993.

[35] R. P. Darken, D. Bernatovich, J. P. Lawson, & B. Peterson, Quantitative Measures of Presence in Virtual Environments: The roles of Attention and Spatial Comprehension. Workshop on Presence. CyberPsychology & Behavior. 2, 337-347, 1999.

[36] H. G. Hoffman, S. R. Sharar, B. Coda, J. J. Everett, M. Ciol, T. Richards & D. R. Patterson, Manipulating presence influences the magnitude of virtual reality analgesia. Pain, 111, 162-168, 2004.

[37] S. R. Ellis, N.S. Dorighi, B. M. Menges, B. D. Adelstein, & R. H. Jacoby, In search of equivalence classes in subjective scales of reality. In M. J. Smith, G. Salvendy & R. J. Koubek (Eds.), Design of computing systems: social and ergonomic considerations, 873-876. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1997

[38] C. Dillon, E. Keogh, J. Freeman & J. B. Davidoff, Presence: is your heart in it? Proceedings of the 4th Annual International Workshop on Presence, 21-23, Temple University, Philadelphia, 2001 May.

[39] C. Hendrix, & W. Barfield, Presence within virtual environments as a function of visual display parameters. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 5, 274-289, 1996.

[40] T. Hatada, H. Sakata, H. Kusaka, Psychophysical analysis of the “sensation of reality” induced by a visual wide-field display. SMPTE Journal, 89, 560-569, 1980.

[41] J. Prothero & H. Hoffman Widening the field of view increases the sense of presence. HITLab Technical Report R-95-5, 1995.

[42] R. B. Welch, T. T. Blackmon, A. Liu, B. A. Mellers & L. W. Stark The effects of pictorial realism, delay of visual feedback and observer interactivity on the subjective sense of presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 5, 263-273, 1996.

[43] H. Q. Dinh, N. Walker, C. Song, A. Kobayashi and L. F. Hodges, Evaluating the Importance of Multi-sensory Input on Memory and the Sense of Presence in Virtual Environments. Proceedings of the IEEE Virtual Reality '99,222—22, 1999.

[44] M. Slater, M. Usoh & Y. Crysanthou, The influence of dynamic shadows on presence in immersive virtual environments. In M. Goebel (Ed.), Virtual environments ’95, 8-21, Springer Computer Science, 1995.

[45] R. M. Held & N. I. Durlach, Telepresence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1, 109-112, 1992.

[46] E. T. Davis, K. Scott, J. Pair, L. F. Hodges & J. Oliverio, Can audio enhance visual perception and performance in a virtual environment? Technical Report: GIT-GVU- 99-28, 1999.

[47] R. Cook, L. Carpenter & E. Catmul, The Reyes Image Rendering Architecture. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH, Computer Graphics, 4, 95-1021987, July.

[48] S. C. Nichols, C. Haldane, J. R. Wilson, Measurement of presence and its consequences in virtual environments. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. 52, 471-491, 2000.

[49] J. Freeman, J. Lessiter & W. Ijsselsteijn, An introduction to presence: A sense of being there in a mediated environment, 2002. Online:

[50] N. I. Durlach & A. S. Mavor, Virtual reality. Scientific and technological challenges. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1995.

[51] W. Barfield, K. M. Baird & O. J. Bjorneseth, Presence in virtual environments as a function of type of input device and display update rate, Displays, 19, 91-98, 1998.

[52] W. Sadowski & K. Stanney, Presence in virtual environments. In K. M. Stanney (Ed.), Handbook of virtual environments: Design, implementation and application, 791-806 New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.

[53] G. Riva & F. Vincelli, Virtual reality as an advanced imaginal system: A new experiential approach for counseling and therapy. The International Journal of Action Methods, 54 (2), 51- 65, 2001.

[54] K. Mania & A. Chalmers, The effects of levels of immersion on memory and presence in virtual environments: A reality centered approach. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 4 (2), 247- 264, 2001.

[55] R. M. Banos, C. Botella, M. Alcaniz, B. A. Liano, B. Guerrero & B. Rey, Immersion and emotion: Their impact on the sense of presence. Cyberpsychology & Behavior. 7:734-740, 2004.

[56] F. Biocca, C. Harms, and J.K. Burgoon, Toward a more robust theory and measure of social presence: Review and suggested criteria. Presence: Teleoperators, and Virtual Environments, 12(5), 456-480, 2001.

[57] M. Slater, Measuring presence: a response to the Witmer and Singer presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments. 8:560-565, 1999.

[58] R. E. Nisbett & T. D. Wilson, Telling more than we know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review. 84:231-259, 1977.

[59] J. Freeman, S. E. Avons, R. Meddis, D. E. Pearson & W. A. Ijsselsteijn, Using behavioral realism to estimate presence: a study of the utility of postural responses to motion stimuli. Presence: teleoperators and virtual environments, 9, 149-164, 2000.

[60] B. G. Witmer, C. J. Jerome & M. J. Singer, The factor structure of the Presence Questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments. 14:298-312, 2005.

[61] P. Renaud, J. Rouleau, L. Granger, et al., Measuring sexual preferences in virtual reality: A pilot study. Cyberpsychology & Behavior. 5:1-9, 2002

[62] K. M. Stanney, K. S. Kingdon, D. Graeber, et al, Human performance in immersive virtual environments:Effects of exposure duration, user control, and scene complexity. Human Performance. 15:339-366, 2002.

[63] D. Freeman, J. Lessiter, E. Keogh, K. Chapman, and M. Alcañiz, Emma Project Technical Report 1: Functional description of the measurement protocol. European Project "Engaging Media for Mental Health Applications" - EMMA (IST-2001-39192): Valencia, Spain, 2003. On-line:

[64] J. Lessiter, J. Freeman, E. Keogh, and J. Davidoff, A Cross-Media Presence Questionnaire: The ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory. Presence: Teleoperators, and Virtual Environments, 10(3): p. 282-297, 2001.

[65] M. Slater, M. Usoh, and A. Steed, Depth of presence in virtual environments. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 1(3): p. 130-144, 1994,.

[66] R.M. Baños, C. Botella, A. García-Palacios, H. Villa, C. Perpiñá, and M. Alcañiz, Presence and Reality Judgment in virtual environments: A unitary construct? Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 3(3): p. 327-355, 2000.

[67] T. Schubert, F. Friedman, and H. Regenbrecht, The experience of presence: Factor analytic insights. Presence: Teleoperators, and Virtual Environments, 10(3): p. 266-281, 2001.

[68] D. Schloerb, A quantitative measure of telepresence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 4, 64-80, 1995.

[69] M. Slater and A. Steed, A Virtual Presence counter. Presence: Teleoperators, and Virtual Environments, 9(5): p. 413-434, 2000.

[70] A. Spagnolli and L. Gamberini, A Place for Presence. Understanding the Human Involvement in Mediated Interactive Environments. PsychNology Journal, 3(1), 2005.


[71] A. Spagnolli, L. Gamberini, and D. Gasparini, Breakdown analysis in Virtual Reality usability evaluation. PsychNology Journal, 1(1), 2003.


[72] K. M. Stanney Stanney, G. Salvendy, J. Deisigner, P. DiZio, S. Ellis, E. Ellison, G. Fogleman, J. Gallimore, L. Hettinger, R Kennedy, J. Lackner, B. Lawson, J. Maida, A. Mead, M. Mon-Williams, D. Newman, T. Piantanida, L. Reeves, O Riedel, M. Singer, T. Stoffregen, J. Wann, R. Welch, J. Wilson, B. Witmer, Aftereffects and sense of presence in virtual environments: Formulation of a research and development agenda. Report sponsored by the Life Sciences Division at NASA Headquarters. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 10, 135-187, 1998.

[73] S. R. Ellis, Presence of mind: a reaction to Thomas Sheridan’s Further musings on the psychophysics of presence. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 5, 247-259, 1996.

[74] D. Nunez & E. H. Blake, Cognitive presence as a unified concept of virtual reality effectiveness. UCT Technical Report CS01-11-00, 2001.


Repository Staff Only: item control page