Using linguistic features to measure presence in computer-mediated communication

Kramer, A. D. I., Oh, L. M., and Fussell, S. R. Using linguistic features to measure presence in computer-mediated communication. In CHI ’06: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 2006), ACM Press, pp. 913–916. [pdf]


This paper reports an interesting study on how linguistic features of the communication between collaborators might account for the people’s sense of presence. The authors’ logic behind this measure is that: to the extent that people talk about a remote space in the same way they talk about local space, we can infer that they feel immersed in that remote space.

They used an Helper-Worker paradigm and they tested four communication condition: audio, video, video+drawing and face-to-face. The four conditions gave rise to different levels of self-reported presence. Presence was highest in the face-to-face condition, lowest in the audio-only condition and intermediate in the video conditions.

Presence scores were also highly correlated with the use of local deixis (e.g., “this”, “here”). Confirming that when people feel present in a remote environment, they talk about it in the same way they talk abot their physical environment.

The paper shows an interesting application of the regression analysis to verify how these linguistic features can predict participants’ sense of presence.

Kramer Robot-Presence

Kramer Linguistic-Regression

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