The Impact of Avatar and Environment Congruence on Plausibility, Embodiment, Presence, and the Proteus Effect in Virtual Reality

, , , , and . IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 29 (5): 2358-2368 (2023)
DOI: 10.1109/TVCG.2023.3247089


Many studies show the significance of the Proteus effect for serious virtual reality applications. The present study extends the existing knowledge by considering the relationship (congruence) between the self-embodiment (avatar) and the virtual environment. We investigated the impact of avatar and environment types and their congruence on avatar plausibility, sense of embodiment, spatial presence, and the Proteus effect. In a 2 × 2 between-subjects design, participants embodied either an avatar in sports- or business wear in a semantic congruent or incongruent environment while performing lightweight exercises in virtual reality. The avatar-environment congruence significantly affected the avatar’s plausibility but not the sense of embodiment or spatial presence. However, a significant Proteus effect emerged only for participants who reported a high feeling of (virtual) body ownership, indicating that a strong sense of having and owning a virtual body is key to facilitating the Proteus effect. We discuss the results assuming current theories of bottom-up and top-down determinants of the Proteus effect and thus contribute to understanding its underlying mechanisms and determinants.

Links and resources



  • @ewolf
  • @davidmal
  • @n.doellinger
  • @hci-uwb
  • @mts.group
  • @dblp
@hci-uwb's tags highlighted