April 20, 2024 | Log in

Research Subject and Objectives


Virtual and real worlds can have different degrees of virtualization. While for computer games extensive virtualization can be useful, a modest virtualization seems more appropriate in museums focusing on exhibits. The degree of virtualization in traffic simulations, used for training and exams, is a current research topic. The possibility of an easily transformable environment is fundamentally positive, but also complicates the design of user friendly control concepts, due to a lack of standardized interaction channels and elements. Furthermore, there are few reliable application studies.

Media mediated communication situations are limited, i.e. they cannot supply the visual, acoustic and kinesthetic channels (gesture, facial expression and posture) that are present in a complete and realistic manner. Hence, users develop strategies for addressing and preserving effective communication (Döring, 2003, Höflich, 2003) in media mediated communication. Even though, users use the available options to develop alternatives to express and perceive situationally relevant messages. Nevertheless in comparison to real worlds, misinterpretations and misconceptions are more frequently (Beck, 2006). Consequently, modern virtual worlds try to overcome media limitations.



Taking this into account, the objective for our research training group is to determine and empirically examine the relevant aspects of connected virtual and real social worlds, explaining how current limitations can be overcome, and consequently which interactions respectively experiences can arise. How can virtual worlds be extended to interactive platforms, is intensification of social presence relevant, and are teaching-learning systems of notable importance? Is the effectiveness increasable by adding aspects of human emotional communication? We want to clarify which degree of virtualization is ideal, and in which degree and aspects using new 3D technics increases the effectiveness of multiuser systems.

Despite virtual worlds being more and more accepted as an integral part of the modern information society, their scientific examination is unsatisfying, especially for their social functionality. This applies both to social interaction inside virtual worlds, and environmental mediated sociality. The research program is focused on both aspects by analyzing the development of avatars, yielding application specific virtualization recommendations. The research on this field requires perspectives from different viewpoints. Our research training group faces this by establishing interdisciplinary networks of researchers from media science and computer science.