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Welcome to wonderland: The apparent size of the self-avatar hands and arms influences perceived size and shape in virtual environments

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Journal publication date2011
IssueECVP Abstract Supplement
Number of pages1
Original languageEnglish


According to the functional approach to the perception of spatial layout, angular optic variables that indicate extents are scaled to the body and its action capabilities [cf Proffitt, 2006 Perspectives on Psychological Science 1(2) 110–122]. For example, reachable extents are perceived as a proportion of the maximum extent to which one can reach, and the apparent sizes of graspable objects are perceived as a proportion of the maximum extent that one can grasp (Linkenauger et al, 2009 Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perceptiion and Performance; 2010 Psychological Science). Therefore, apparent sizes and distances should be influenced by changing scaling aspects of the body. To test this notion, we immersed participants into a full cue virtual environment. Participants’ head, arm and hand movements were tracked and mapped onto a first-person, self-representing avatar in real time. We manipulated the participants’ visual information about their body by changing aspects of the self-avatar (hand size and arm length). Perceptual verbal and action judgments of the sizes and shapes of virtual objects’ (spheres and cubes) varied as a function of the hand/arm scaling factor. These findings provide support for a body-based approach to perception and highlight the impact of self-avatars’ bodily dimensions for users’ perceptions of space in virtual environments.