Virtual Reality for Mind and Body: Does the Sense of Embodiment Towards a Virtual Body Affect Physical Body Awareness?

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PubDate: April 2022

Teams: University of Würzburg;TU Dortmund University

Writers: Nina Döllinger;Erik Wolf;David Mal;Nico Erdmannsdörfer;Mario Botsch;Marc Erich Latoschik;Carolin Wienrich

PDF: Virtual Reality for Mind and Body: Does the Sense of Embodiment Towards a Virtual Body Affect Physical Body Awareness?

Abstract

Mind-body therapies aim to improve health by combining physical and mental exercises. Recent developments tend to incorporate virtual reality (VR) into their design and execution, but there is a lack of research concerning the inclusion of virtual bodies and their effect on body awareness in these designs. In this study, 24 participants performed in-VR body awareness movement tasks in front of a virtual mirror while embodying a photorealistic, personalized avatar. Subsequently, they performed a heartbeat counting task and rated their perceived body awareness and sense of embodiment towards the avatar. We found a significant relationship between sense of embodiment and self-reported body awareness but not between sense of embodiment and heartbeat counting. Future work can build on these findings and further explore the relationship between avatar embodiment and body awareness.

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