Nonverbal communication in virtual environments

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1 Introduction

In collaborative virtual environments, users are usually represented as avatars and these avatars may convey various kinds of nonverbal signals. According to Allmendinger (2010:41), “It can be assumed that computer-mediated nonverbal signals not only lead to a higher sense of social presence, but also support turn-taking management as well as feedback processes in instructional situations.”

See also: Virtual learning environment, 3D interactive environment, social presence, computer-supported instructional communication

2 Background

According to “Nonverbal activity is an important dimension of social interaction. Psychological studies have concluded that more than 65 percent of the information exchanged during a face-to-face interaction is expressed through nonverbal means (Argyle 1988). Body postures and movements, facial expressions, tones of voice, etc., augment spoken messages and give substance to social interaction.”

3 Links

4 In education

A study by Bylor and Kim (2009) suggests that “that pedagogical agents’ nonverbal communication plays an important role in enhancing learning-related outcomes. The most interesting finding was that the presence of facial expressions facilitated learning when it was not associated with gesture, and gesture deteriorated the effectiveness of attitudinal instruction while enhancing the effectiveness of the procedural instruction. Additionally, for attitudinal instruction, the presence of facial expression also positively affected learners’ perception of agent persona and attitude toward the content. This suggests that having ‘one nonverbal communication’ for a pedagogical agent may be preferable, designed according to the type of learning (e.g., procedural or attitudinal).”

5 Bibliography

  • Allmendinger, Katrin (2010). Social Presence in Synchronous Virtual Learning Situations: The Role of Nonverbal Signals Displayed by Avatars, Educational Psychology Review, 22 (1), 41-56. DOI:10.1007/s10648-010-9117-8
  • Baylor, Amy L. and Soyoung Kim, (2009). Designing nonverbal communication for pedagogical agents: When less is more, Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 25, Issue 2, Including the Special Issue: State of the Art Research into Cognitive Load Theory, Pages 450-457, ISSN 0747-5632, DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2008.10.008.
  • Baylor A.L. and J. Ryu, (2003). The effects of image and animation in enhancing pedagogical agent persona, Journal of Educational Computing Research 28 (4) (2003), pp. 373–395.
  • Baylor, A.L.; J. Ryu and E. Shen (2003). The effects of pedagogical agent voice and animation on learning, motivation and perceived persona, Proceedings of World conference on educational multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications, AACE, Norfolk, VA (2003), pp. 452–458.
  • Bente, G., Rüggenberg, S., Krämer, N. C., & Eschenburg, F. (in press, 2010). Avatar-Assisted Net-Working. Increasing Social Presence and Interpersonal Trust in Net-Based Collaborations. Human Communication Research.
  • Bente, G., Rüggenberg, S., Krämer, N. C., & Eschenburg, F. (2008). Avatar-mediated networking: Increasing social presence and interpersonal trust in net-based collaborations. Human Communication Research, 34, 287–318. 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2008.00322.x
  • Bente, G., & Krämer, N. C. (2002). Virtual gestures : Analyzing social presence effects of computer-mediated and computer-generated nonverbal behaviour, Fifth Annual International Workshop PRESENCE, PDF
  • Bente, G., & Krämer, N. C. (in press, 2010). Virtual gestures. Embodiment and nonverbal behavior in computer-mediated communication. In A. Kappas (Ed.), Emotion in the Internet. Cambridge University Press.
  • Bente, G., & Krämer, N. C. (2008). Nonverbal Signals, Effects of. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication (Vol. VII, pp. 3334-3339). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Bente, G., Eschenburg, F. & Aelker, L. (2007). Effects of Simulated Gaze on Social Presence, Person Perception and Personality Attribution in Avatar-Mediated Communication. Paper presented at the PRESENCE 2007, Barcelona, Spain. PDF
  • Guye-Vuillème, Anthony (2004), Simulation Of Nonverbal Social Interaction and Small Groups Dynamics in Virtual Environments, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, PHD Thesis. PDF
  • Guye-Vuillème, A., Capin, T.K., Pandzic, I.S., Magnenat-Thalmann, N. and Thalmann, D. (1999), "Non-verbal communication interface for collaborative virtual environments", The Virtual Reality Journal, vol. 4, pp. 49-59 DOI:10.1007/BF01434994