International Journal of Art and Technology (IJART), Vol. 6, No. 1, December 2013, pp.83-105
We are interested in the way players identify with their virtual characters, and how this identification could be exploited to augment players' cognitive abilities. Our approach is based on the cognitive neuroscience theory of common coding and related experiments, that suggest that perception, imagination and execution of movement are linked by a common representation in the brain. We report three experiments that examine players' identification with the avatar and one effect of this identification on the player’s cognitive abilities. The first experiment laid the foundation for the design and development of a full-body puppet interface for transferring a player's own movements to a virtual avatar. Subsequent experiments used the puppet to investigate: (1) whether players recognised their own movements in a virtual avatar and (2) whether this self-recognition improved the player’s ability to perform mental rotations. Our results show that the puppet interface is effective in personalising an avatar, and it can augment players’ cognitive abilities.