December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
The presence of avatars provides benefits for rotating object recognition
Author Affiliations
  • Chifumi Sakata
    Kyoto University
  • Ryusei Ishii
    Kyoto University
  • Yu Jr Lan
    Kyoto University
  • Yoshiyuki Ueda
    Kyoto University
  • Yusuke Moriguchi
    Kyoto University
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3790. doi:
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      Chifumi Sakata, Ryusei Ishii, Yu Jr Lan, Yoshiyuki Ueda, Yusuke Moriguchi; The presence of avatars provides benefits for rotating object recognition. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3790.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Previous studies of social interaction suggest that how an object appears from another person’s position affects object recognition, even when people just see their avatar (e.g., Ward et al., 2019). Participants’ discrimination between canonical and mirror-reversed letters was faster for letters facing toward an avatar than away from it. To investigate whether the presence of an avatar serves as a benefit or a cost in rotated object recognition depending on the rotation angle, we conducted an online experiment in which the angle of an object was varied. In the experiment, a letter in the center of a table was rotated from 0°to 330°in 30°increments, and in some trials, the avatar appeared on either the left or right side of the table. The dependent variable was difference in reaction time between trials with and without the avatar, that is benefit or cost of the avatar’s presence. The independent variables were clockwise- or counterclockwise-angular disparity between the letter and participants (30°, 60°, 90°, 120°, and 150°) and rotation direction (inward or outward relative to the avatar). Reaction times were significantly shorter for letters rotated inward for the avatar than outward. Specifically, the effect of rotation direction was the largest at 120°, but the interaction between rotation disparity and direction did not reach significance. As an exploratory analysis, we compared the difference in reaction time with zero and found that only letters rotated 120°inward relative to the avatar showed a significant benefit. The results suggest that avatars are beneficial rather than distracting for letter rotation recognition even in online settings. This paradigm may be useful for investigating how the presence of others affects cognitive mechanisms. In future research, we will examine the extent to which the presence of an avatar affects object recognition, focusing on the spatial relationships between observers, avatars, and objects.


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