Embodying virtual twins – photorealistic and personalized avatars – will soon be easily achievable in consumer-grade VR. For the first time, we explored how photorealism and personalization impact self-identification, as well as embodiment, avatar perception and presence. Twenty participants were individually scanned and, in a two-hour session, embodied four avatars (high photorealism personalized, low photorealism personalized, high photorealism generic, low photorealism generic). Questionnaire responses revealed stronger mid-immersion body ownership for the high photorealism personalized avatars compared to all other avatar types, and stronger embodiment for high photorealism compared to low photorealism avatars and for personalized compared to generic avatars. In a self-other face distinction task, participants took significantly longer to pause the face morphing videos of high photorealism personalized avatars, suggesting a stronger self-identification bias with these avatars. Photorealism and personalization were perceptually positive features; how employing these avatars in VR applications impacts users over time requires longitudinal investigation.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2023.acm.org/)