Intention, action, self and other: An evolutionary model of presence

Giuseppe Riva, Fabrizia Mantovani, Eva Lindh Waterworth, John A. Waterworth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The term “presence” entered in the wide scientific debate in 1992 when Sheridan and Furness used it in the title of a new journal dedicated to the study of virtual reality systems and teleoperations: Presence, Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. Following this approach, the term “presence” has been used to describe a widely re-ported sensation experienced during the use of virtual reality. The main limitation of this vision is what is not said. What is presence for? Is it a specific cognitive process? To answer to these questions, a second group of researchers considers presence as a broad psychological phenomenon, not necessarily linked to the experience of a medium, whose goal is the control of the individual and social activity. In this chapter we support this second vision, starting from the following broad statements: (a) the psychology of presence is related to human action and its organization in the environment; (b) the psychology of presence is related to the body and to the embodiment process; (c) presence is an evolved process related to the understanding and management of the causal texture of both the physical and social worlds. In the following paragraphs we will justify these claims and underline their relevance for the design and usage of interactive technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmersed in Media: Telepresence Theory, Measurement and Technology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9783319101903, 9783319101897
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Action
  • Activity theory
  • Consciousness
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Intentionality
  • Presence
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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