Jonathan Freeman, Jane Lessiter and Wijnand IJsselsteijn provide an introduction to ‘presence’ – a sense of being there – based on the research of the Immersive Television Project at Goldsmiths College.
THE scene from the future opposite is imaginary, have no doubt; but the basic concept behind it is real. Psychologists are helping in the development of media systems that can generate a sense of presence in a remote environment. When an observer is presented with a high-fidelity representation of the physical world, a compelling perception of ‘being in’ the depicted scene is often elicited. It is this perception that is defined as presence: a sense of ‘being there’ in a displayed scene or environment (Barfield et al., 1995). As presence increases, an observer becomes more aware of and engaged by the mediated environment, and less aware of the environment in which he or she is physically located (Freeman et al., 1999).
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