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Too close to be true. VR images bring the visible speaker into your face (literally).

In Virtual Reality (VR), images of persons are displayed closer to the viewer than ever before. Therefore, images of strangers can come much closer into the experiences and private sphere then in accustomed socio- cultural interactions or in “conventional” moving images. Each micro movement of the face is visible in focus, allowing to read the face of a virtual person in greater detail than ever permitted in conventional distances in the real non-virtual reality. The sensation of immersion in VR changes the way the images are depicted compared to regular moving images. The bodily representations of a virtual person differ depending on the distance of the image- framing. Thus distance affects how vision and sensorimotor interaction are anchored into somatic, mental and neural processes – into an embodied perception. Accordingly, images not only affect the visual and kinesthetic imagery but also influence the way of thinking, analyzing and understanding something or someone, and VR adds a new dimension to all those cognitive processes by enabling extreme close-ups impossible on a common screen. An unconventional immersive close-up of a person can intimidate through the unfamiliar, extremely short interpersonal distance, as the speaker is just too close to be true.
Darmstadt, Germany, 2016