The Department of Psychology and the Cognitive Behavioral Sciences (CBS) Colloquium Series will present a talk, titled “Examining the Effects of Altered Avatars on Perception-Action in Virtual Reality” with Brian Day, Ph.D., Friday, September 8, at 2 p.m. in 48 DeGarmo Hall. Day is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Butler University.


Human factors are concerned with the application of what we know about people to the design of equipment they use, environments in which they function, and jobs they perform. One such environment, that is becoming much more prevalent, is virtual reality (VR). In virtual reality, an avatar is an animated graphical representation of a person embedded in a virtual environment. Previous research has illustrated the benefits of having an avatar when perceiving aspects of virtual reality. We studied the effect that a non-faithful, or altered, avatar had on the perception of one’s action capabilities in VR.

In experiment one, one group of participants acted with a normal, or faithful, avatar and the other group of participants used an avatar with an extended arm, all in virtual reality. In experiment two, the same methodology and procedure was used as in experiment one, except only the calibration phase occurred in VR, while the remaining reaches were completed in the real world. All participants performed reaches to various distances.

The results of these studies show that calibration to altered dimensions of avatars is possible after receiving feedback while acting with the altered avatar. Further, calibration occurred more quickly when feedback was initially used to transition from a normal avatar to an altered avatar than when later transitioning from the altered avatar arm back to the normal avatar arm without feedback. The implications of these findings for training in virtual reality simulations and transfer back to the real world will also be discussed.

CBS Colloquium Series

The CBS Colloquium Series brings high-caliber researchers to the Illinois State University campus to share their work with the local academic community. Individual faculty members invite speakers to campus based on their interests. The Department of Psychology also invites alumni to speak in the series in an effort to maintain strong connections with former students and provide them with a chance to pass on their knowledge to current students. The series provides both faculty and students with a variety of professional development opportunities and allows students to network with professionals in their field of study.

This speaker series is sponsored by the Department of Psychology. To support the Department of Psychology and help enhance its educational mission with advanced teaching methods, guest speakers, and more opportunities for students to learn through research experiences, please consider making a gift to the department through the Illinois State University Foundation.

If you need a special accommodation to participate in this program, call the Department of Psychology at (309) 439-8651. Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.