Personality variables and presence

Helene S. Wallach, Marilyn P. Safir, Roy Samana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study was designed to examine the correlation between five personality traits (empathy, imagination, immersive tendencies, dissociation tendencies and locus of control) and presence. Moreover, this study aimed to identify an optimal virtual reality user's profile. Eighty-four students (66 women, 18 men) completed personality questionnaires, experienced exposure in a virtual environment and completed a presence questionnaire. Twenty-three women, among them 13 non-Jewish women and no men, neglected to look out the virtual window, and reported lower levels of presence. Presence correlated with immersive tendencies and empathy. However, empathy and internal locus of control were the best predictors for the sense of presence. A correlation between imagination and presence was only found in the group that avoided viewing the virtual window. This study revealed the importance of empathy and internal locus of control in the sense of presence. In addition, our findings suggest that the subject's imagination has an important role when the virtual environment is restricted and that we must attend to cultural and gender-related factors when investigating therapy using virtual reality technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalVirtual Reality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Dissociation
  • Empathy
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Imagination
  • Immersion
  • Locus of control
  • Presence
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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