Individual differences in virtual environments - introduction and overview

Chaomei Chen, Mary Czerwinski, Robert Macredie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The practical significance of identifying and accommodating individual differences has been established across a number of fields of research. There is a renewed interest in individual differences due to the advances in virtual environments, especially through far-reaching technologies such as information visualization and 3D graphical user interfaces on the World Wide Web. The effects of individual differences on the use of these new technologies are yet to be found out. More fundamentally, theories and methods developed for the earlier generations of information systems are subject to a close examination of their applicability, efficiency, and effectiveness. In this article, we present a brief historical overview of research in individual differences in the context of virtual environments. In particular, we highlight the notion of structure in the perception of individual users of an information system and the role of individuals' abilities to recognize and use such structures to perform various information-intensive tasks. Striking the balance between individuals' abilities and the demanding task for detecting, understanding, and utilizing such structures is an emerging theme across the five articles in this special issue. We outline the approaches and the major findings of these articles with reference to this central theme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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