From presence to consciousness through virtual reality

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Abstract

Immersive virtual environments can break the deep, everyday connection between where our senses tell us we are and where we are actually located and whom we are with. The concept of 'presence' refers to the phenomenon of behaving and feeling as if we are in the virtual world created by computer displays. In this article, we argue that presence is worthy of study by neuroscientists, and that it might aid the study of perception and consciousness.

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Figure 1: A Trimension ReaCTor system.
Figure 2: Head-mounted display.
Figure 3: The 'pit room'.

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Acknowledgements

This paper arises out of research in the European Union Information Society Technologies/Future and Emerging Technologies project PRESENCIA. We would like to thank the Scientific Officer L. Anania for her support and encouragement.

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Correspondence to Mel Slater.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Sanchez-Vives, M., Slater, M. From presence to consciousness through virtual reality. Nat Rev Neurosci 6, 332–339 (2005) doi:10.1038/nrn1651

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