Nhan Tran and Trevor Grant and Thao Phung and Leanne Hirshfield and Christopher Wickens and Tom Williams


International Conference on Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality (VAMR), held as part of the International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

Publication Year

Recently, researchers have initiated a new wave of convergent research in which Mixed Reality visualizations enable new modalities of human-robot communication, including Mixed Reality Deictic Gestures (MRDGs) – the use of visualizations like virtual arms or arrows to serve the same purpose as traditional physical deictic gestures. But while researchers have demonstrated a variety of benefits to these gestures, it is unclear whether the success of these gestures depends on a user’s level and type of cognitive load. We explore this question through an experiment grounded in rich theories of cognitive resources, attention, and multi-tasking, with significant inspiration drawn from Multiple Resource Theory. Our results suggest that MRDGs provide task-oriented benefits regardless of cognitive load, but only when paired with complex language. These results suggest that designers can pair rich referring expressions with MRDGs without fear of cognitively overloading their users.