Increasingly popular social virtual reality (VR) platforms like VRChat created new ways for people to interact with each other, generating dedicated user communities with unique idioms of socializing in an alternative world. In VRChat, users frequently gather in front of mirrors en masse during online interactions. Understanding how user communities deal with the mirror's unique interactions can generate insights for supporting communication in social VR. In this study, we investigated the mirror’s synergistic effect with avatars on behaviors and dedicated user conversational performance. Qualitative findings indicate that avatar-mediated communication through mirrors provides functions like ensuring synchronization of incarnations, increasing immersion, and enhancing idealized embodiment to express bolder behaviors anonymously. Quantitative studies show that while mirrors improve self-perception, it has a potentially adverse effect on conversational performance, similar to the role of self-viewing in video conferencing. Studying how users interact with mirrors in an immersive environment allows us to explore how digital environments affect spatialized interactions when transported from physical to digital domains.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2023.acm.org/)