From video games to virtual worlds on the World Wide Web, modern media are becoming increasingly spatial, with users traversing artificial spaces and experiencing a kind of immersion known as spatial presence. But how do these media induce spatial presence? Are the affordances for movement provided by these technologies responsible for this illusion? Or do narratives that accompany them persuade us to suspend disbelief and transport ourselves into a virtual space? We explore these theoretical questions by pitting the navigability affordances of a video game against narrative transportation and examining their relative contributions to the formation of spatial presence in a virtual reality context. Results from a large experiment (N = 240) reveal that the narrative actually detracts from spatial presence while traversibility (in the form of greater degrees of steering motion) enhances it even without invoking a mental model of the portrayed environment. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction