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Spatial orientation as a social cue: the case of objects and avatars

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Meilinger,  T
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Foster,  C
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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de la Rosa,  S
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Meilinger, T., Takahashi, K., Foster, C., Watanabe, K., Bülthoff, H., & de la Rosa, S. (2015). Spatial orientation as a social cue: the case of objects and avatars. Cognitive Processing, 16(Supplement 1), S18-S18.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-449A-3
Abstract
Background: Humans naturally keep a larger distance to the front of other people than to their back. Aims: Within three experiments we examined if such a front-back asymmetry is present already in perceived distances, and whether it extends to objects as well as to human characters. Method: Participants watched through a head mounted display single photorealistic virtual characters moving on the spot (avatars) and moving or static virtual objects (i.e., cameras) located within an invisible cube. Avatars and objects were presented at different distances and were either facing the participants or facing away from them. Participants then estimated the perceived distance to cameras and avatars by moving a virtual object to the location of the avatar or the centre of the invisible cube containing the cameras. Results: Both cameras and avatars facing participants resulted in shorter estimated distances than cameras and avatars facing away. This asymmetry was independent of the presented distance. Conclusions: Together with similar findings from experiments with virtual cones these results point towards a fundamental perceptual effect of object orientation. This orientation asymmetry effect does not depend on movement or object form and might indicate a basic form of social processing.