Normative tensions in Shared Augmented Reality
Interactions in the social world are regulated by a set of behavioral norms defining what is acceptable and what is not. Novel technologies enable new forms of human interaction, often challenging existing norms of behavior. In particular, shared augmented reality (AR) – where multiple users can create, attach, and interact with the shared virtual elements embedded into the physical environment – has the potential to interrupt current social norms of behavior.
The objective of our study is to shed light on the ways in which shared augmented reality environments challenge existing behavioral expectations. Using a simulated lab experimental design, we performed a study of users’ interactions in a shared AR setting. In each of the scenarios, one participant facilitated the interaction, creating a virtual object and placing it over the primary participant’s personal space or belonging. After the interactions, we assessed the participants’ opinions via semi-structured interviews. Our focus was on the primary participants, as they were the recipient of the potentially threatening actions. However, both participants’ perceptions and opinions were recorded, as often the facilitators placed themselves in the recipient’s shoes, voicing what they believe were the participant’s primary concerns.
Content analysis of participants’ interviews reveals users’ concerns over the preservation of their self- and social identity, as well as concerns related to personal space and the sense of psychological ownership over one’s body and belongings. Our findings also point to the need for regulation of shared AR environments and design of the technology’s control mechanisms.