Review of Virtual Environment Studies on Social and Group Phenomena

Anu Sivunen*, Marko Hakonen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a review of previously published studies on virtual environments (VEs), focusing especially on empirical articles on social and group phenomena in VEs and their methodological and theoretical trends. VEs can be defined as communication systems in which interactants share the same three-dimensional digital space and can navigate, manipulate objects, and interact with one another via avatars. When examining the methodological and theoretical choices of these studies, four trends could be identified that characterize group studies on VEs: (a) testing the applicability of real-life, social behavior norms in VEs, (b) a lack of work group studies using VEs, (c) the micro-level treatment of social and groups, and (d) a lack of covering theory. Propositions for future research are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalSmall Group Research : An International Journal of Theory, Investigation and Application
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)405-457
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • computer-mediated communication
  • virtual environment
  • virtual group
  • virtual world


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