Avatar-mediated social interactions in shared virtual environments (SVEs) considerably differ
from real-life interactions, as they often lack in reproducing the full range of social signals
and behaviors (in real-time), such as facial expression and gaze. We investigated the impact
of these deficiencies on the quality of social interaction. In a first study (N=36), we compared
a motor driven collaborative task and a verbal driven negotiation task in real world and SVE.
Users were immersed using head-mounted-displays and represented as mannequin-like
avatars controlled with body tracking. The results suggest significant differences in
networked minds/presence factors as well as motor performance. However, functional
aspects of the negotiation task did not show significant differences. In a second study
(N=64), we replicated the negotiation task and paid special attention to judgments of communication quality. While the results confirm similar functional negotiation outcomes, preliminary results show that users subjectively rated a lower effectiveness.