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Social perceptions of avatars in augmented reality

Media Psychology Group presents at IEEE VR 2024 conference

Augmented reality (AR) offers rich opportunities for interpersonal communication. However, current empirical research tends to disproportionately focus on younger users, leaving middle-aged and older adults underrepresented both as technology users and avatar representations. To address this research gap, the Media Psychology Group, in collaboration with the with Virtual Worlds and Digital Games Group, conducted an experimental study examining age perceptions in AR for interpersonal communication. The interdisciplinary study explores the preferences of younger, middle-aged, and older adults regarding avatars. In the online experiment, N = 2,086 age-diverse participants assessed nine avatars representing different age groups and levels of realism. The findings highlight the prevalence of age-related stereotypes in avatar-based communication and advocate for a more inclusive avatar design to counteract these stereotypes.

The study contributes valuable insights for technology development in the CO-HUMANICS (Co-Presence of Humans and Interactive Companions for Seniors) and MULTIPARTIES projects, with results set to be presented at the 31st IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR 2024) in Orlando, Florida, USA.


Mikhailova, V., Gerhardt, C., Kunert, C., Schwandt, T., Weidner, F., Broll, W., & Döring, N. (2024, March 16-21). Age and realism of avatars in simulated augmented reality: Experimental evaluation of anticipated user experience. 31st IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces, Orlando, FL, USA.