Influence of Personality Traits and Body Awareness on the Sense of Embodiment in Virtual Reality

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PubDate: December 2019

Teams: Inria;CNRS; University of Barcelona

Writers: Diane Dewez; Rebecca Fribourg; Ferran Argelaguet; Ludovic Hoyet; Daniel Mestre; Mel Slater; Anatole Lécuyer

PDF: Influence of Personality Traits and Body Awareness on the Sense of Embodiment in Virtual Reality


With the increasing use of avatars (i.e. the virtual representation of the user in a virtual environment) in virtual reality, it is important to identify the factors eliciting the sense of embodiment or the factors that can disrupt this feeling. This paper reports an exploratory study aiming at identifying internal factors (personality traits and body awareness) that might cause either a resistance or a predisposition to feel a sense of embodiment towards a virtual avatar. To this purpose, we conducted an experiment (n=123) in which participants were immersed in a virtual environment and embodied in a gender-matched generic virtual avatar through a head-mounted display. After an exposure phase in which they had to perform a number of visuomotor tasks (during 2 minutes) a virtual character entered the virtual scene and stabbed the participants’ virtual hand with a knife. The participants’ sense of embodiment was measured, as well as several personality traits (Big Five traits and locus of control) and body awareness, to evaluate the influence of participants’ personality on the acceptance of the virtual body. The major finding of the experiment is that the locus of control is linked to several components of embodiment: the sense of agency is positively correlated with an internal locus of control and the sense of body ownership is positively correlated with an external locus of control. Interestingly, both components are not influenced by the same traits, which confirms that they can appear independently. Taken together our results suggest that the locus of control could be a good predictor of the sense of embodiment when the user embodies an avatar with a similar physical appearance. Yet, further studies are required to confirm these results.

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