Embodiment and telepresence : toward a comprehensive theoretical framework

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What explains the experience of "being there" in a simulated or mediated environment? In recent years, research has pointed to various technological and psychological factors deemed important in eliciting this so-called experience of telepresence, including interactivity, sensory-motor integration, media transparency, and distal attribution. However, few theories exist that can combine these findings in a coherent framework. In the present paper, we formulate such a theoretical framework. We will argue that the experience of telepresence is a consequence of the way in which we are embodied, and that it extends naturally from the same ability that allows us to adjust to a slippery surface, or to the weight of a hammer. The importance of embodiment in the understanding of telepresence has been stated before, but these works have not yet fully addressed what it means to be embodied. We argue that "having a human body" means having a specific morphology, a body schema, and a body image. Subsequently we describe how tools and technological artifacts may be incorporated at each of these levels of embodiment, and the implications thereof for the experience of telepresence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-218
Number of pages8
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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