Social interaction in a virtual environment: Examining socio-spatial interactivity and social presence using behavioral analytics

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A behavioral observation methodology was employed in this study to examine how social behavior unfolds within a virtual environment and to identify what might perpetuate this behavior. Partial interval recording sampling was used to code social interactions (Socio-Spatial Interactivity and Social Presence) that occurred between experienced World of Warcraft players during their game play. Given the bidirectional nature of social interactions, Socio-Spatial Interactivity and Social Presence variables (Affective Association, Community Cohesion, Interaction Intensity, and Knowledge & Experience) were employed as both dependent and independent variables in two separate sets of regression analyses. Findings suggest that a positive feedback loop exists between Socio-Spatial Interactivity and Social Presence. Based on these findings, the researchers discuss implications for designers and end-users of virtual environments.


Social interaction; Social presence; Virtual environments; Avatar; Massively multiplayer online games; Immersion

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