Exploring Eye Contact in Virtual Environments: The Compositor Mirror Tool, Areas of Interest, and Public Speaking Competency

Luke LeFebvre, Leah E. LeFebvre, Mike Allen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Eye contact is considered a quintessential aspect of a speaker’s delivery when interacting with an audience. This exploratory study investigated a specific area of interest (AOI) exhibited by speakers in a technologically mediated virtual environment (VE). Such virtual immersion allows speakers to present to audience members and utilize their speaker notes all within a digital replication of the physical speaking environment. A Compositor Mirror Tool (CMT) enables others a first-person point-of-view through the speaker’s head mounted display. Participants (N = 12) were college students enrolled in an introductory public speaking course who completed informative and persuasive speech practices and a post-immersion survey. Seventeen presentations produced nearly 120-minutes of data. The CMT revealed insights into speakers’ AOI and managed their time between audience and speaker notes. Examination of AOI orientations revealed varying proportions for speakers with an average ratio of 60:40 (audience to speaker notes). Note design may contribute to dependence on downward AOI. Correlational analyses observed insights into speakers’ experience in the VE that relate to retrospective speech understanding. VEs coupled with CMT demonstrates promise for impacting psychomotor skills for when speakers communicate within technologically mediated environments for competent skills transfer to reality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1053-1072
    Number of pages20
    JournalCommunication Studies
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - 2021


    • Composite Mirror Tool
    • Virtual environment
    • areas of interest
    • eye contact
    • public speaking
    • speaker notes


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