Telepresence and the Role of the Senses

In Matteo Vincenzo D'Alfonso & Don Berkich (eds.), On the Cognitive, Ethical, and Scientific Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence. Springer Nature Switzerland. pp. 169-187 (2019)
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The telepresence experience can be evoked in a number of ways. A well-known example is a player of videogames who reports about a telepresence experience, a subjective experience of being in one place or environment, even when physically situated in another place. In this paper we set the phenomenon of telepresence into a theoretical framework. As people react subjectively to stimuli from telepresence, empirical studies can give more evidence about the phenomenon. Thus, our contribution is to bridge the theoretical with the empirical. We discuss theories of perception with an emphasis on Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Gibson, the role of the senses and the Spinozian belief procedure. The aim is to contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon. A telepresence-study that included the affordance concept is used to empirically study how players report sense-reactions to virtual sightseeing in two cities. We investigate and explore the interplay of the philosophical and the empirical. The findings indicate that it is not only the visual sense that plays a role in this experience, but all senses.

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