University of Oulu

Pouke, M., Center, E. G., Chambers, A. P., Pouke, S., Ojala, T., & Lavalle, S. M. (2022). The body scaling effect and its impact on physics plausibility. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 3, 869603.

The body scaling effect and its impact on physics plausibility

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Author: Pouke, Matti1; Center, Evan G.1; Chambers, Alexis P.1;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-02-21


In this study we investigated the effect of body ownership illusion-based body scaling on physics plausibility in Virtual Reality (VR). Our interest was in examining whether body ownership illusion-based body scaling could affect the plausibility of rigid body dynamics similarly to altering VR users’ scale by manipulating their virtual interpupillary distance and viewpoint height. The procedure involved the conceptual replication of two previous studies. We investigated physics plausibility with 40 participants under two conditions. In our synchronous condition, we used visuo-tactile stimuli to elicit a body ownership illusion of inhabiting an invisible doll-sized body on participants reclining on an exam table. Our asynchronous condition was otherwise similar, but the visuo-tactile stimuli were provided asynchronously to prevent the onset of the body ownership illusion. We were interested in whether the correct approximation of physics (true physics) or physics that are incorrect and appearing as if the environment is five times larger instead (movie physics) appear more realistic to participants as a function of body scale. We found that movie physics did appear more realistic to participants under the body ownership illusion condition. However, our hypothesis that true physics would appear more realistic in the asynchronous condition was unsupported. Our exploratory analyses revealed that movie physics were perceived as plausible under both conditions. Moreover, we were not able to replicate previous findings from literature concerning object size estimations while inhabiting a small invisible body. However, we found a significant opposite effect regarding size estimations; the object sizes were on average underestimated during the synchronous visuo-tactile condition when compared to the asynchronous condition. We discuss these unexpected findings and the potential reasons for the results, and suggest avenues for future research.

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Series: Frontiers in virtual reality
ISSN: 2673-4192
ISSN-E: 2673-4192
ISSN-L: 2673-4192
Volume: 3
Article number: 869603
DOI: 10.3389/frvir.2022.869603
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland projects PIXIE 331822, PERCEPT 322637, SRC of Academy of Finland project COMBAT 293389, Business Finland project HUMOR 3656/31/2019, and the European Research Council project ILLUSIVE 101020977.
EU Grant Number: (101020977) ILLUSIVE - Foundations of Perception Engineering
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 331822
Detailed Information: 331822 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
322637 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 Pouke, Center, Chambers, Pouke, Ojala and Lavalle. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.