People experience different levels of presence (e.g. Krijn et al., 2004; Walshe, Lewis, Kim, O'Sullivan, & Wiederhold, 2003), and different levels of cybersickness (Sharples, Cobb, Moody, & Wilson, 2008) even though they are immersed in the same virtual environment setting. In the current study, we raised the question how differences in individual characteristics might relate to differences in sensed presence for a virtual environment related to public speaking. The individual characteristics included in the experiment were related to visual abilities, personality traits, cognitive styles, and demographic factors. We recruited 88 participants, who were first immersed in a non-stereoscopic neutral environment, and then in a public speaking world: once with stereoscopic rendering and once without stereoscopic rendering, in a counter-balanced order. The results showed that immersive tendency and monocular visual ability were significantly correlated with presence and these correlations were consistent among the three virtual environments. Immersive tendencies and its subscale "involvement" were also found to be significantly correlated with cybersickness in all three worlds. Screening people on these variables may help to recognize the users who are more likely to benefit from virtual reality applications and may help to reduce the number of dropouts during virtual reality exposure therapy. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.