What dreams and smartphones can teach VR developers about presence

A natural idea is that the feeling of presence in VR depends on coupling between a user’s movements and the images presented in the headset. When we consider other cases that involve presence, like dreams and getting lost in your smartphone, it becomes clear that this can’t be the whole story. Presence in a space, I suggest, is fundamentally a matter of being fluent at using signs (e.g., reflected light or pixels on a screen) to gain information about that space. When you want to maximize the feeling of presence in a space for a user, you want to think about how to help them gain fluency with the signs mediating their contact with that space.