Presence, immersion and realism in XR Environments


Triberti Stefano Triberti

Stefano Triberti

Faculty of Human Sciences - Università Telematica Pegaso

De Luca Valerio De Luca

Valerio De Luca

AVR Lab, Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento

D'Errico Giovanni D'Errico

Giovanni D'Errico

DISAT - Department of Applied Science and Technology - Politecnico di Torino


The study of user experience in eXtended Reality includes more peculiar and specific factors dealing with immersion, presence and realism, which have a considerable impact on the user's level of attention and concentration, as well as on the effectiveness of XR for any aim it could be used for, ranging from clinical to experimental to entertainment. Presence refers to the subjective experience of being in one place or environment, independently of where a subject is actually located. According to many theories across the literature, presence could be considered a mere function of virtual reality (media presence) or alternatively a fundamental function of human cognition, independent of the fruition of a medium (inner presence). Immersion is usually considered as the subjective experience of being surrounded by an interactive environment, whereas involvement denotes the psychological state deriving from directing attention to a stimulus. The various interaction modes typically adopted in virtual reality applications (handheld controllers, touchless gestures, vocal commands) may have an influence on these factors. Furthermore, the research is still investigating purely-psychological factors in the experience of presence, suggesting that these may have a pivotal role in modulating such a sensation (e.g., presence or absence of a narrative context for the VE; perceived salience of the XR for one’s personal goals; intensity of emotions; and many others).

This special session aims to gather new work on theoretical models, methodologies for evaluating these factors and case studies in various application scenarios.


Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Presence
  • Immersion
  • Involvement
  • Perceived realism
  • Focus of attention and flow
  • Evaluation methodologies
  • Influence of the interaction mode (handheld controllers, gestures, voice commands)
  • Influence of psychological factors (e.g. emotional vs. neutral environments; narrative aspects of VR; users’ personality; etc.)
  • Case studies and application of XR/presence/immersion/involvement to various contexts


Valerio De Luca graduated magna cum laude from the University of Salento in Computer Engineering in 2009 and received a Ph.D. in Information Engineering from the same university in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Engineering for Innovation at the University of Salento. His past research interests include grid computing, distributed systems for real-time audio-video streaming and QoE. Since 2015, he works with the Augmented and Virtual Reality Laboratory (AVR Lab), where he is involved in projects on human-computer interaction and extended reality for medicine, education, cultural heritage. He recently worked also on GPU computing, with application to optimal UAV path planning, and on augmented reality for improvement of situation awareness in UAV remote control. Since 2022, he has been working on an extended reality project for preoperative planning and intraoperative support in orthopaedic surgery.

Giovanni D’Errico received the M.S. degree in Computer Science Engineering in University of Salento. He is currently a PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Turin (doctoral school in Metrology). His current research interests include the study of Passive Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) and eXtended Reality (XR) solutions to foster the EEG-based measurement of mental states. His past research interests include the study of XR applications and gamification in the context of smart cities, cultural heritage smart fruition and neurocognitive rehabilitation. He is currently part of AVRLab (University of Salento) and ARHeMLab (University of Naples Federico II).

Stefano Triberti is associate professor of General Psychology and Psychology of Social Communications at Università Telematica Pegaso, Italy, and professor of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Sciences at SKEMA Business School, France. He also collaborates with the Humane Technology Lab of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. He is editor of the scientific journals PLOS ONE and Frontiers in Psychology. His main research areas, on which he has published numerous books and scientific articles, deal with the User Experience and the use of new technologies for the promotion of health and well-being, with a particular focus on games and video games, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence.