Influence of Photorealism and Non-Photorealism on Connection in Social VR

Nienke Bierhuizen*, Wendy Powell, Tina Mioch, Omar Niamut, Hans Stokking

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Traveling for business meetings is not only costly but also has a negative influence on the environment. Many video conferencing platforms have tried to reduce the need to travel, but people still find it relevant to meet face-to-face. Remote meetings via virtual reality (VR) allow users to still have the feeling of being together in the same space. In VR, avatars are used as digital user representations. This study investigated whether photorealistic avatars influence the connection users feel with each other during a VR remote meeting, and whether congruence between environment and avatar realism influences this connection. A 2x2 within-subject experiment was conducted whereby twelve participants had remote meetings in VR with photorealistic and non-photorealistic avatars and environments. Results indicate that when both participants are represented by live video footage of themselves (photorealistic), they feel more connected with each other than when they are represented by a non-photorealistic avatar. Congruence between the avatar and environment did not seem to influence connection. These results may help to improve the value of future remote business meetings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine
Place of PublicationSan Diego
PublisherInteractive Media Institute
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Jan 2022
EventCyberPsychology, CyberTherapy and Social Networking - Virtual, Milan, Italy
Duration: 13 Sept 202115 Feb 2022
Conference number: 25


ConferenceCyberPsychology, CyberTherapy and Social Networking
Abbreviated titleCYPSY25
Internet address


  • Virtual Realit
  • Social VR
  • Connection
  • Photorealism
  • Avatars


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