Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Peter Martin


The boundaries of the self may be manipulated to incorporate objects in the physical sense (e.g., the rubber hand illusion) and other people in the conceptual sense (e.g., the enfacement effect). Synchronous stimulation has been used to manipulate both physical and conceptual self boundaries. Although the literature offers many discussions of the metaphoric overlap between self and other, experimental study of the embodied aspects of this phenomenon has been lacking. This study consequently manipulated multimodal stimulation to test factors potentially affecting self-other overlap in a user-actor human computer interaction (HCI). As HCI progresses from information design to experience design, from inelegant artifacts to ambient intelligence, an embodied perspective can inform the interaction of technology and the body, affect, and social cognition.

The independent variables in the experiment were: (1) the presence or absence of a haptic device (neck massager) on the participant; (2) the presentation of one of two videos, in which an actor expressed either energy or calmness while wearing the haptic device; and (3) the pre- and post-intervention time factor. The experiment measured the effect of these variables on the following dependent variables: (1) heart rate; (2) skin conductance; (3) energetic arousal; (4) calmness; and (5) interpersonal closeness to the actor.

The results showed a main effect for time for all dependent variables. Regardless of haptic device or video content, heart rate decreased, skin conductance increased, self-reported calmness increased, self-reported energetic arousal decreased, and self-reported interpersonal closeness to the actor increased. A three-way interaction effect was evident for the measures of calmness and interpersonal closeness. The greatest reported increase in calmness occurred in the haptic-energy video condition. The greatest reported increase in interpersonal closeness also occurred in the haptic-energy video condition, an effect that was consistent with one of the study's hypotheses. HCI applications that incorporate both haptic and interpersonal closeness factors would be wise to consider this effect and subject it to further testing.


Copyright Owner

Norene Kelly



File Format


File Size

86 pages