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Connected Practice: The Dynamics of Social Interaction in Shared Virtual Environment
Chalmers tekniska högskola, (Institutionen för teknikens ekonomi och organisation).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3203-7062
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the phenomenon of social interaction in shared virtual environments (SVEs), supported by virtual reality (VR) systems over time. SVEs are computer generated 3D graphical spaces where geographically distributed people can meet and interact with each other in a graphical space. Although there have been a number of studies about social interaction in SVEs, there has been a lack of research looking into changes over time, which this thesis does. In order to gain more knowledge about social interaction over the longer term, this thesis compares and contrasts four different types of VR systems that supported various SVEs. Two of the systems were internet based SVEs on desktop computers where many users could interact at the same time. One of the SVEs had voice based communication. The other SVE had text based communication. The other two were based in laboratory settings. One setting was networked immersive projection technologies (IPT) in which two participants performed a variety of tasks together. The other was one IPT connected to a desktop VR and participants changed systems half way through the trial in which they collaboratively solved a task together. In both settings voice based communication were used. Observations and other methods of analysis were carried out, focusing on differences and similarities in peoples behaviors in the process of social interaction over time in SVEs. The six papers contained in this thesis explore social interaction over time in shared virtual environments. This thesis argues that technology becomes not only a tool for social interaction; it also becomes a key aspect in social interaction. While the technology filters out some of the social cues we are familiar with from face to face situations, it also ‘filters in’ new cues that become important for how people can connect to each other in the shared virtual environment. Over time, these social cues, that people creates among themselves while using the technology, become essential for people learn about; otherwise they find it difficult to relate to each other and do things together in the shared virtual environments. The more difficulties people have in figuring out how to use the technology while interacting with others, the less they will accept the technology as an appropriate tool for connecting people and doing things together. The reason for this is that social and technical issues can only be separated analytically in shared virtual environments; in practice, as this thesis shows, they are highly intertwined. This thesis puts forward a dynamic model identifying the importance of looking more explicitly at individuals, technology, task and time while studying social interaction in SVEs. In this way, the thesis combines a number of insights both from previous social science theories of social interaction and practices - together with observations from the studies this thesis builds on. The thesis puts forward a concept that includes these insights - connected practice, defined as the dynamics of social interaction in technical systems. This concept can guide future studies to incorporate both technical and social aspects over time since it was shown to be the key to understanding the phenomenon of this thesis. It is finally suggested in the thesis that the concept connected practice can be utilized in other technical systems apart from SVEs in future research of social interaction in technical systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Chalmers University of Technology , 2009. , 71 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie, ISSN 0346-718X ; 2943
Keyword [en]
Shared virtual environments, virtual reality technology, social interaction, practice, dynamics, time, connected practice.
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7645ISBN: 978-91-7385-262-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-7645DiVA: diva2:815780
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Strangers and Friends in Networked Immersive Environments: Virtual Spaces for Future Living
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strangers and Friends in Networked Immersive Environments: Virtual Spaces for Future Living
2003 (English)In: Proceeding of Home Oriented Information technologies (HOIT) 2003, Irvine, CA., 2003Conference paper, (Refereed)
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7641 (URN)
Conference
HOIT 2003, Irvine, April 6-8 (2003)
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2015-11-07Bibliographically approved
2. The Good Inequality: Supporting Group-Work in Shared Virtual Environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Good Inequality: Supporting Group-Work in Shared Virtual Environments
2006 (English)In: Avatars at Work and Play: Activities in Shared Virtual Environments / [ed] R.Schroeder and A-S. Axelsson (eds.), London: Springer , 2006, 151-166 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Springer, 2006
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7598 (URN)1402038836 (ISBN)
Available from: 2015-05-22 Created: 2015-05-22 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved
3. Learning to be Social: Establishing and Maintaining Relationships in Shared Virtual Environments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning to be Social: Establishing and Maintaining Relationships in Shared Virtual Environments
2004 (English)In: Elaborated version of paper published in proceedings of Realitat Virtual a l'arquitectura i la Construcció Barcelona, Spain, Barcelona, 2004Conference paper, (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Barcelona: , 2004
Keyword
Learning environments
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7644 (URN)84-608-0394-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Realitat Virtual a l'arquitectura i la Construcció Barcelona, Spain
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved
4. Elaborating Distraction-Conflict Theory towards and Analytical Model for Evaluating Collaboration in Shared Virtual Environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Elaborating Distraction-Conflict Theory towards and Analytical Model for Evaluating Collaboration in Shared Virtual Environment
2004 (English)In: Proceeding of Virtual Reality Design and Evaluation Workshop, Nottingham, UK., Nottingham, 2004Conference paper, (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nottingham: , 2004
Keyword
Evaluating collaboration
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7643 (URN)
Conference
Virtual Reality Design and Evaluation Workshop, Nottingham, UK.
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2015-11-07Bibliographically approved
5. Talking heads on the internet: social interaction in a multi-user voice based 3d graphical environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Talking heads on the internet: social interaction in a multi-user voice based 3d graphical environment
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of IRIS 2011.: TUCS Lecture Notes  No 15, October 2011 / [ed] Leino, Timo, 2011Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper reports on the finding from a qualitative study which investigated how long-term

users of Traveler, a voice-based 3D online graphical environment launched in 1996 and still

running, experience their social relations in relation to this specific cue-rich communication

technology. The paper describes the subjective perceptions of the technology-mediated social

experience such as the experience of social atmosphere in the community, of online

friendship, of the meaning of the online social interaction in the users' offline lives. The paper

also discusses the importance of these subjective experiences for motivation to regularly use

Traveler. Conclusions drawn from the study suggest that it is crucial for users to have the

ability to handle the technical functions of the program in order to function socially in the

environment such as using the functions of the graphical program and using the voice channel

in a social significant way. As a result, in order to have a positive and meaningful social

experience in online it is critical for users to adapt to technical as well as to social factors.

This process of adaptation is very important since the way functions are used was interpreted

as social signals by users suggesting that social and technical aspects are intertwined in social

practice. The paper describes this process of adaptation and the positive social effects of a

successful adaptation. 

Keyword
Social interaction, graphical environment
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-3767 (URN)978-952-12-2648-9 (ISBN)
Conference
IRIS 2011
Available from: 2011-10-11 Created: 2011-10-11 Last updated: 2015-06-25Bibliographically approved
6. Successes and Failures in Copresent Situations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Successes and Failures in Copresent Situations
Show others...
2005 (English)In: Presence - Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, ISSN 1054-7460, Vol. 14, no 5, 563-579 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7638 (URN)
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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