Getting the Point Across: Exploring the Effects of Dynamic Virtual Humans in an Interactive Museum Exhibit on User Perceptions

Publication Title

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics

Publication Date


Document Type



virtual humans, museum exhibits, user perceptions


Education | Library and Information Science


We have created “You, M.D.”, an interactive museum exhibit in which users learn about topics in public health literacy while interacting with virtual humans. You, M.D. is equipped with a weight sensor, a height sensor and a Microsoft Kinect that gather basic user information. Conceptually, You, M.D. could use this user information to dynamically select the appearance of the virtual humans in the interaction attempting to improve learning outcomes and user perception for each particular user. For this concept to be possible, a better understanding of how different elements of the visual appearance of a virtual human affects user perceptions is required. In this paper, we present the results of an initial user study with a large sample size (n =333) ran using You, M.D. The study measured users’ reactions based on the user’s gender and body-mass index (BMI) when facing virtual humans with BMI either concordant or discordant from the user’s BMI. The results of the study indicate that concordance between the users’ BMI and the virtual human’s BMI affects male and female users differently. The results also show that female users rate virtual humans as more knowledgeable than male users rate the same virtual humans.