Making it real: a study of augmented virtuality on presence and enhanced benefits of study stress reduction sessions

Dilian Alejandra Zuniga Gonzalez, Deborah Richards*, Ayse Aysin Bilgin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Within the Virtuality Continuum from completely real to completely virtual, Augmented Virtuality (AV) has been much less explored in comparison to studies on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. This project aims to understand whether adding artefacts from the physical world into the virtual world (Augmented-virtuality) increases sense of presence and enhances the efficacy of an Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) to achieve its intended purpose. A study was designed where the purpose of the IVA was to reduce study stress in students. The between-subjects experiment involved 50 participants in two groups: The Augmented-virtual group and the Virtual group. The Augmented-virtual group experienced a Virtual Reality (VR) environment augmented with a chair and coffee table also experienced in the real world. The Virtual group experienced the same VR environment without augmentation; the real chair does not match the virtual chair and the virtual coffee table does not exist in the real world. Self-reporting and heart rate were analysed to measure stress levels. Self-reporting indicated significant changes in study stress (participants’ cognitive level) for both groups. However, measurement of stress via heart rate (participants’ physical level) was significantly reduced for the Augmented-virtual group, who also reported higher presence. Presence instruments only revealed significant differences for items relevant to visual aspects, as other aspects were not manipulated. We conclude that augmenting virtual worlds with elements concurrently experienced in the real world may increase sense of presence and enhance simulation efficacy, e.g. increased stress reduction, when compared to the use of VR only.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102579
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Intelligent virtual agent
  • Virtual Reality
  • Immersion
  • Augmented Virtuality
  • Presence
  • Stress


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