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There are few studies of the human factors involved in the engagement of presence. The present study aims to investigate the influence of five user characteristics - test anxiety, spatial intelligence, verbal intelligence, personality and computer experience - on the sense of presence in university students when exposed to virtual environments designed to assess their levels of test anxiety. This is the first study to investigate the influence of spatial intelligence on the sense of presence, and the first to use an immersive virtual reality system to investigate the relationship between users' personality characteristics and presence. The results show a greater sense of presence in test anxiety environments than in a neutral environment. Moreover, high test anxiety students feel more presence than their non-test anxiety counterparts, especially in test anxiety environments. Spatial intelligence and introversion also influence the sense of presence experienced by high test anxiety students exposed to emotional virtual environments. Interestingly, each of these user characteristics influences different dimensions of the sense of presence. These results may help to identify new groups of patients likely to benefit from virtual reality therapy.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date



152 - 155