The Cyborg's dilemma: Progressive embodiment in virtual environments

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698 Scopus citations


How does the changing representation of the body in virtual environments affect the mind? This article considers how virtual reality interfaces are evolving to embody the user progressively. The effect of embodiment on the sensation of physical presence, social presence, and self presence in virtual environments is discussed. The effect of avatar representation on body image and body schema distortion is also considered. The paper ends with the introduction of the cyborg's dilemma, a paradoxical situation in which the development of increasingly "natural" and embodied interfaces leads to "unnatural" adaptations or changes in the user. In the progressively tighter coupling of user to interface, the user evolves as a cyborg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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