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Immersive Virtual Environments

A state of immersive realism alters the user’s perceptual process of the physical stimuli and become reliant on the immersive virtual environment stimuli for semiosis.

Designer-Artifact-User (DAU) System


The role of the designer for immersive virtual environments have a unique position of being 'world-makers', designers utilize the semiotic components to evoke imagination and creativity.


An artifact allows the user to receive sensory information, such as perceptual, audible and haptic feedback. This includes screen technologies, controllers, haptic vests, and other designed products for a type of virtual environment.


A user is someone who engages, interacts with technology for immersive virtual environments within their physical space. 

Key Components of Immersive Virtual Environments

Understanding the nature of immersive virtual environments can provide designers with sufficient theoretical understanding on how a potential user would construct meaning within a virtual environment.

Overall, if a user is given the potentiality to change the nature of the immersive virtual environment, then the user must have the competence on what can and cannot be manipulated, and the user must discover which resources within the environment can serve as meaningful objects on how to change nature.

As a recap of the four degrees of nature, the 1st degree of nature, the exhibitive nature, allows the user to formulate meaning and interpret the sensory information that is experienced and perceived within an environment. The 2nd degree, the manipulative nature, requires changing nature during the enactment of a user’s goal-oriented behavior, which is internally modeled in relation to an image constructed in the 3rd degree of nature, the reproductive nature. And the 0th degree of nature, the imaginative nature, exists within the mind of the designer, and this is the paradoxical inversion of the 3rd degree nature for the intrinsic nature— (see publication below).

Crucial aspects to model immersion (Kozicki 2023a)



A cultural text can be modified within the realm of new media. Transforming a text relies on the tools available for the user and the means for how the tools are enacted within a contextualized environment.



To be immersed implies that the user has agency within a text. An immersive experience requires the user to not only have agency in their physical boundaries, but also within a text itself.


Environmental Mapping

Immersion requires more than just interpretation, it offers the user the experience to reproduce meaning through the conceptualization of the environmental stimuli in a perceived space.


Grounding for co-development

Modeling user behavior for the paradoxical nature of reality is hyperreality is a ‘both–and’ structure and is exemplified in the statement that if the 3rd degree of intrinsic nature is virtual nature, then, paradoxically, the 3rd degree of a virtual nature is a realistic nature.

Research Publication

Umwelt in an umwelt: Co-developing within immersive virtual environments and the paradoxical nature of reality and hyperreality

Sign Systems Studies: 51(1)

Alec Kozicki (2023a)
Department of Semiotics
University of Tartu

Paper Abstract

This paper examines how to model immersive virtual environments using Kalevi Kull’s ecosemiotic model of four degrees of nature. Using this theoretical model allows for an investigation into the paradoxical nature of reality and hyperreality, which is a novel approach to understanding how a user co-develops with both their physical and immersive virtual environments. Analysis for the four degrees of nature within the virtual space reveals that an immersive virtual environment emerges from an imaginative void, contains milieu that users can recognize and interact with, offers the action-potentiality (affordances) for altering and changing materials within the virtual space, and the reproductive nature which converges the boundaries of reality and hyperreality during the meaning-making process for users. Additionally, this paper elaborates how technological household goods in the past century have integrated texts into the cultural construct of a home. The paper identifies how immersive virtual environments alter an inhabitant’s perception and interactions within the home and explains how to model immersion, which is important for future research of user behavior in the digital age of new media.

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