Embodying Self in Virtual Worlds

  • Ali Mazalek
  • Sanjay Chandrasekharan
  • Michael Nitsche
  • Tim Welsh
  • Paul Clifton
Part of the Springer Series in Immersive Environments book series (SSIE)


Players project their intentions, expressions and movements into ­virtual worlds. A dominant reference point for this projection is their avatar. We explore the transfer of a player’s own body movements onto their virtual self, drawing on cognitive science’s common coding theory as a model for understanding their self-recognition. This chapter presents the results of two sets of self-recognition experiments that investigated the connections between player and virtual avatar. In the first set of experiments, we investigated self-­recognition of movement in different levels of abstraction between players and their avatars. The second set of ­experiments made use of an embodied interface for virtual character control that was designed based on common coding principles. The results demonstrate that this interface is effective in personalising a player’s ­avatar and could be used to unlock higher cognitive effects compared to other interfaces.


Virtual World Virtual Character Common Code Tangible User Interface Game Character 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Synaesthetic Media Lab, the Digital World & Image Group and the Cognitive & Motor Neuroscience Lab for helping shape our ideas. In particular, we thank Andrew Quitmeyer, Firaz Peer, Geoffrey Thomas, Tandav Sanka and Friedrich Kirschner for their work on the project. This work is supported by NSF-IIS grant #0757370, NSF-REESE grant #0909971 (awarded to Nancy Nersessian and Wendy Newstetter), and the Alberta Ingenuity Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Mazalek
    • 1
  • Sanjay Chandrasekharan
    • 2
  • Michael Nitsche
    • 1
  • Tim Welsh
    • 3
  • Paul Clifton
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Literature, Communication and CultureGeorgia Institute of TechnologySt. AtlantaUSA
  2. 2.School of Interactive ComputingGeorgia Institute of TechnologySt. AtlantaUSA
  3. 3.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Georgia Institute of TechnologySt. AtlantaUSA

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