Is presence a technology issue? Some insights from cognitive sciences

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The International Society of Presence Research, defines "presence" (a shortened version of the term "telepresence") as a "psychological state in which even though part or all of an individual's current experience is generated by and/or filtered through human-made technology, part or all of the individual's perception fails to accurately acknowledge the role of the technology in the experience" (ISPR 2000, The concept of presence: explication statement. Accessed 15 Jan 2009). In this article, we will draw on the recent outcomes of cognitive sciences to offer a broader definition of presence, not related to technology only. Specifically, presence is described here as a core neuropsychological phenomenon whose goal is to produce a sense of agency and control: subjects are "present" if they are able to enact in an external world their intentions. This framework suggests that any environment, virtual or real, does not provide undifferentiated information, ready-made objects equal for everyone. It offers different opportunities and produces presence according to its ability in supporting the users and their intentions. The possible consequences of this approach for the development of presence-inducing virtual environments are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalVirtual Reality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Action
  • Activity
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive sciences
  • Intentions
  • Presence
  • Space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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