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The Psychology of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is poised to make a significant impact across consumer, enterprise, and education markets in the coming year. However, despite its imminent widespread adoption, there remains a significant gap in our understanding of how this novel technology will influence social interaction. This project aims to bridge that gap by delving into both the realms of computer science and social psychology related to AR. In collaboration with Greg Welch's lab at the University of Central Florida, we are developing systems that facilitate real-time networking of avatars through AR. Simultaneously, we are conducting research to explore the social implications, benefits, and consequences of such interactions. Specifically, we seek to understand how the introduction of augmented avatars as constant companions affects individuals' daily routines. How does this technology reshape human interaction when only one person in a group setting can see particular AR avatars? One of the key challenges that arise with AR is the concept of common ground in communication. In traditional face-to-face interactions, individuals rely on shared experiences and visual cues to establish mutual understanding. However, in an AR-enhanced environment, each person may be experiencing a distinct augmented reality, making the establishment of common ground more complex and dynamic. By studying these dynamics, we can shed light on how AR impacts social dynamics, communication patterns, and the overall human experience. Our research aims to uncover the potential benefits, challenges, and transformations that arise when people engage with one another while simultaneously navigating their separate augmented realities. Understanding the psychology of AR is vital for developing intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, designing effective collaboration tools, and anticipating the social implications of this technology. As AR becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it is crucial to explore how it shapes our social interactions and the cognitive processes underlying them. Through this interdisciplinary approach, merging computer science and social psychology, we can pave the way for AR technologies that enhance social connectedness, foster collaboration, and promote meaningful experiences in both personal and professional domains. The insights gained from this research will inform the development of future AR applications and contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the psychological factors at play in augmented reality environments.

As we delve deeper into the psychology of Augmented Reality (AR), we uncover a myriad of intriguing questions and possibilities. Our research, conducted in collaboration with Greg Welch's lab at the University of Central Florida, not only focuses on the technical aspects of networking avatars through AR but also seeks to understand the profound impact of this technology on social behavior and cognition.

One aspect we are particularly interested in is how augmented avatars as constant companions in daily life alter human routines. With AR seamlessly integrated into our personal devices and wearable technology, individuals may rely on their virtual companions for various tasks, information, and even emotional support. This shift in reliance raises questions about the boundaries between real and virtual interactions and how they influence our overall well-being and social connectedness.

Furthermore, we explore the dynamics of human interaction within group settings where only select individuals can perceive specific AR avatars. This scenario challenges the notion of shared experiences and common ground in communication. As people engage in face-to-face conversations while simultaneously experiencing distinct augmented realities, understanding and empathy become paramount in maintaining effective communication and avoiding misunderstandings.

Additionally, we investigate the potential psychological effects of prolonged exposure to AR environments. How does the constant blending of physical and virtual realities impact cognition, attention, and memory? Are there cognitive trade-offs or cognitive enhancements associated with AR experiences? These questions not only contribute to our understanding of human perception and cognition but also inform the design and optimization of AR systems for optimal user experience and well-being.

Beyond individual-level effects, our research examines the broader societal implications of widespread AR adoption. How does AR shape social norms, cultural practices, and the overall fabric of social interactions? By observing and analyzing AR usage patterns and social dynamics, we aim to identify both the positive and negative consequences of this technology. This knowledge will enable us to harness the benefits of AR while mitigating potential risks and ethical concerns.

Ultimately, our interdisciplinary approach, combining computer science and social psychology, seeks to advance our understanding of the complex interplay between technology and human behavior. By unraveling the psychology of AR, we can guide the development of future AR applications that promote inclusivity, enhance collaboration, and empower individuals to navigate the augmented world with confidence and well-being.

Through this research journey, we strive to unlock the transformative potential of AR and pave the way for a future where technology enriches our lives, deepens our connections, and expands the boundaries of human experience. The challenges and opportunities presented by AR are vast, and by exploring its psychological underpinnings, we can navigate this emerging frontier with greater insight and empathy.


In conclusion, the psychology of Augmented Reality (AR) is a fascinating field of study that holds tremendous potential for shaping the future of human interaction and experience. Our research, conducted in collaboration with Greg Welch's lab at the University of Central Florida, aims to advance our understanding of the intricate relationship between technology and social behavior. As AR technology becomes increasingly prevalent in consumer, enterprise, and education markets, it is crucial to investigate its effects on various aspects of human life. By exploring how augmented avatars as constant companions impact daily routines, social dynamics within group settings, and the blending of physical and virtual realities, we can gain valuable insights into the implications of AR for individuals and society. Through our interdisciplinary approach, combining computer science and social psychology, we aim to unravel the complexities of AR and harness its benefits while addressing potential challenges. By understanding the cognitive, emotional, and social effects of prolonged exposure to AR environments, we can design systems that optimize user experience and promote well-being. Moreover, our research extends beyond individual-level effects to examine the broader societal implications of widespread AR adoption. By studying AR's influence on social norms, cultural practices, and the fabric of social interactions, we can guide its responsible integration into society, considering ethical considerations and ensuring inclusivity. The findings of our research will provide valuable insights for the development and optimization of future AR applications. By promoting empathy, understanding, and effective communication within augmented realities, we can unlock the transformative potential of AR to enrich lives, deepen connections, and expand the boundaries of human experience. As the field of AR continues to evolve, our research journey serves as a compass, guiding us towards a future where technology seamlessly integrates with our daily lives, enhancing our capabilities, and fostering meaningful connections. By leveraging our understanding of the psychology of AR, we can shape this emerging frontier in a way that aligns with our shared values and aspirations. In summary, the psychology of AR is an exciting field that offers vast opportunities for exploration and innovation. Through our interdisciplinary research efforts, we aim to unlock the full potential of AR while ensuring its positive impact on individuals, society, and the way we interact with the world around us.




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