In the immersive experience that virtual reality (VR) allows, “presence” can be defined as the authentic feeling of being in a world other than the one in which one is physically located. Even if some researchers propose nuanced versions of the notions of immersion and presence in VR, many tend to describe the first as the objective dimension of the experience, the one induced by the technological tools, and the second as its subjective dimension, the one constructed by the user. Presence in virtual reality has a double implication: it implies the existence of a place and that of a subject in this place. To better understand this notion, here are its four expressions.

Infographic on the feeling of presence in VR

In VR, the user experiences a feeling of presence called…

  • Personal or physical. “I have the feeling of being in this virtual environment.”
  • Social. “I am interacting with others in the same reality.”
  • Environmental. “The objects in this virtual environment are real and they respond to my actions. I am interacting effectively with them.”
  • Action-based. “I am aware of the actions I take in this virtual environment and their impact. I am having an experience that will have an impact on my true reality.”
Sources :
  • Le traité de la réalité virtuelle (Fuchs et al.)
  • Études : Heeter, 1992; Biocca, 1997; Bouvier, 2009.
Catherine Meilleur

Catherine Meilleur

Communication Strategist and Senior Editor @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.