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A matter of perspective: The impact of first- and third-person perspective on the perception of virtual group discussions

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The usage of virtual environments (VEs) in organizational settings has become increasingly important. Virtual group meetings, for instance, enable discussions between people who work far away from each other without requiring travel. However, what remains open is the question of whether the technology itself impacts decision making within the group. The present study used a (quasi-)experimental design to test whether manipulating the mediated perspective on a virtual meeting influences decision making in virtual groups. A total of 78 participants engaged in virtual group discussion, each comprising four people, who were visualized by avatars. During the virtual meeting participants either looked through the eyes of their avatars (first-person perspective) or viewed the back of their avatars (third-person perspective) in the VEs. Results indicated that participants who were visualized in the first-person perspective reported a higher involvement in the group discussion and also more satisfaction with the group decision than participants in the third-person perspective.
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Keywords: avatar; group decision making; perspective; presence; virtual environments; virtual meetings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Duisburg-Essen 2: Dresden University of Technology

Publication date: 2012-11-06

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