Presence and human development

John Waterworth presenting a paper on changes in the sense of presence over the lifespan, and how this might relate to some psychological problems and their remediation with interactive technology. The paper was coauthored with Mark Chignell, Henry Moller and Demi Kandylis and presented at the Presence 2018 conference in Prague. Video by Henry, and it’s he and Mark you can hear sniggering in the background.

The paper examines the relatively unexplored topic of changes in the sense of presence corresponding to individual development from early childhood to old age. How does presence change over the lifespan and how can presence-modulating interactive environments be designed to accommodate the needs of different age groups in the light of these changes? To address these questions, we adopt an existing framework for theorising about relevant aspects of the sense of presence, emphasising the distinction between presence and absence based on attentional focus, and the role of presence as a link between intentions and actions. We explore changes in presence and absence over the course of the human lifespan, and in relation to various psychological and cognitive problems. This includes a consideration of the significance of age-specific changes in levels of consciousness, as revealed through patterns of waking, sleeping and dreaming. Finally, we explore the implications of our position for the design of interactive environments, especially as applied to psychotherapy, and to cognitive training and development.

Presence and human development: age-specific variations in presence and their implications for the design of life-enhancing interactive applications

John A. Waterworth(1) Mark Chignell(2) Henry Moller(2) Demi Kandylis(3) UmeƄ University(1), University of Toronto(2), Ontario College of Art and Design(3)