Groundwork for a Theory of Presence: Clarifying the Structural Categories of Experience


Tony Osborne



For presence research to advance the terms and the parameters of the field must be clarified and clearly explicated.  Essentially, the nature of presence research is descriptive or comparative:  its mandate is to compare the quality of "first-level" (or natural) human perception and emotional response with that of "second-level" (or technologically-mediated) perception.  Of necessity, this descriptive data is culled from self-reporting.  Because the research findings will be "visible" only by comparison with the subject's "sense of reality," presence research has one foot grounded in ontology.  Essentially, presence research proposes to explicate the structure of "experience" using various media as independent variables.


I propose to lay out a conceptual framework that includes the structure of first-level "perception" and "meaning" by drawing upon the tenets of the phenomenology and by explicating the dialogical domain, whose key category is "co-presence."