Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Chad Edwards

Second Advisor

Kevin Abbott


Virtual reality (VR) displays present an immersive 3D virtual world that convey a sense of presence. These displays are rapidly increasing in fidelity, from traditional 2d desk monitors to head-mounted displays (HMD’s) like the Oculus Rift. Research must investigate the relationship between this growing level of fidelity in displays and the virtual experiences they produce, especially as high-fidelity devices become more widespread. Evidence shows that the fidelity of VR displays can affect a variety of factors such as spatial awareness, communication, engagement, arousal, enjoyment, and presence. The current study investigated the potential relationship between the fidelity of VR displays and user’s perceptions of others. Participants were randomly assigned to view a virtual avatar deliver a speech on either a high-fidelity HMD VR display or on low-fidelity desktop VR display (traditional 2D monitor). Self-reported perceptions of the presenter’s credibility, motivation ability, social and task attractiveness, social presence, and dominance were then compared between the two groups to determine any affects. Fidelity did not impact perceptual evaluations in any significant way. Implications with respect to minimal cues and presence are discussed, as well as limitations and suggestions for future research.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access