Cooperation between multiple users in a virtual environment (VE) can take place at one of three levels. These\ud are defined as where users can perceive each other (Level 1), individually change the scene (Level 2), or\ud simultaneously act on and manipulate the same object (Level 3). Despite representing the highest level of\ud cooperation, multi-user object manipulation has rarely been studied. This paper describes a behavioral\ud experiment in which the piano movers' problem (maneuvering a large object through a restricted space) was\ud used to investigate object manipulation by pairs of participants in a VE. Participants' interactions with the object\ud were integrated together either symmetrically or asymmetrically. The former only allowed the common\ud component of participants' actions to take place, but the latter used the mean. Symmetric action integration was\ud superior for sections of the task when both participants had to perform similar actions, but if participants had to\ud move in different ways (e.g., one maneuvering themselves through a narrow opening while the other traveled\ud down a wide corridor) then asymmetric integration was superior. With both forms of integration, the extent to\ud which participants coordinated their actions was poor and this led to a substantial cooperation overhead (the\ud reduction in performance caused by having to cooperate with another person)
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