Embodiment in Virtual Reality Intensifies Emotional Responses to Virtual Stimuli

Dominik Gall, Daniel Roth, Jan Philipp Stauffert, Julian Zarges, Marc Erich Latoschik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Modulating emotional responses to virtual stimuli is a fundamental goal of many immersive interactive applications. In this study, we leverage the illusion of illusory embodiment and show that owning a virtual body provides means to modulate emotional responses. In a single-factor repeated-measures experiment, we manipulated the degree of illusory embodiment and assessed the emotional responses to virtual stimuli. We presented emotional stimuli in the same environment as the virtual body. Participants experienced higher arousal, dominance, and more intense valence in the high embodiment condition compared to the low embodiment condition. The illusion of embodiment thus intensifies the emotional processing of the virtual environment. This result suggests that artificial bodies can increase the effectiveness of immersive applications psychotherapy, entertainment, computer-mediated social interactions, or health applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number674179
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • affective computing
  • agency
  • avatars
  • embodiment
  • emotions
  • human-computer interaction
  • immersive interfaces
  • virtual body ownership


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