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Abstract

In immersive Virtual Reality (VR), your brain can trick you into believing that your virtual hands are your real hands. Manipulating the representation of the body, namely the avatar, is a potentially powerful tool for the design of innovative interactive systems in VR. In this study, we investigated interactive behavior in VR by using the methods of experimental psychology. Objects with handles are known to potentiate the aforded action. Participants tend to respond faster when the handle is on the same side as the responding hand in bi-manual speed response tasks. In the frst experiment, we successfully replicated this afordance efect in a Virtual Reality (VR) setting. In the second experiment, we showed that the afordance efect was infuenced by the avatar, which was manipulated by two diferent hand types: (1) hand models with full fnger tracking that are able to grasp objects, and (2) capsule-shaped—fngerless—hand models that are not able to grasp objects. We found that less than 5 mins of adaptation to an avatar, signifcantly altered the afordance perception. Counter intuitively, action planning was signifcantly shorter with the hand model that is not able to grasp. Possibly, fewer action possibilities provided an advantage in processing time. The presence of a handle speeded up the initiation of the hand movement but slowed down the action completion because of ongoing action planning. The results were examined from a multidisciplinary perspective and the design implications for VR applications were discussed.