Title: Recognising your self in virtual avatars

Authors: Ali Mazalek; Michael Nitsche; Sanjay Chandrasekharan; Tim Welsh; Paul Clifton; Andrew Quitmeyer; Firaz Peer; Friedrich Kirschner

Addresses: Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ' Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA ' Digital Media Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA

Abstract: We are interested in the way players identify with their virtual characters, and how this identification could be exploited to augment players' cognitive abilities. Our approach is based on the cognitive neuroscience theory of common coding and related experiments, that suggest that perception, imagination and execution of movement are linked by a common representation in the brain. We report three experiments that examine players' identification with the avatar and one effect of this identification on the player's cognitive abilities. The first experiment laid the foundation for the design and development of a full-body puppet interface for transferring a player's own movements to a virtual avatar. Subsequent experiments used the puppet to investigate: (1) whether players recognised their own movements in a virtual avatar and (2) whether this self-recognition improved the player's ability to perform mental rotations. Our results show that the puppet interface is effective in personalising an avatar, and it can augment players' cognitive abilities.

Keywords: tangible interface; digital puppetry; video games; virtual avatars; cognitive neuroscience; common coding theory; body memory; self recognition; player identification; virtual characters; cognitive abilities; mental rotations; puppet interface.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2013.050693

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2013 Vol.6 No.1, pp.83 - 105

Available online: 01 Nov 2012

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article