What is it about?

This article explores the affective potential of virtual humans in virtual museum (VM) environments. Three avatars (personifying a curator, a guard, and a visitor, respectively) have been employed as storytellers introducing participants to the emotive story behind a historical sculpture. The emotional responses of a test group have been correlated to a range of factors, namely, the role acted by the virtual storytellers, the subjects’ own stance on cultural heritage, gender, and predispositions towards the sense of presence and affective responses. We review research related to the topic of presence and social presence in VMs, and position our experimental procedure as well as the findings of our study in this context. Theoretical frameworks, such as the Expectancy Violations Theory are used to interpret the key findings, which have not always confirmed the initial hypotheses.

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Why is it important?

The outcome of our study may inform the design of avatars-as-storytellers in VMs on the basis of their affective potential, given the results of the study and, more importantly, the theoretical investigation of the factors, which conditioned the emotional responses observed.

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This page is a summary of: Avatars as storytellers: affective narratives in virtual museums, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, February 2020, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s00779-019-01358-2.
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