The methodology presented here focuses on real versus simulated virtual worlds in order to obtain users' response data of their level of presence as well as task performance, acquired uniformly under three distinct conditions. A better understanding of how to design and implement VE systems will result by discovering links between presence and human performance, as well as incorporating real world data into VE applications. A set of pilot studies investigated the importance of visual and auditory stimuli on memory and the sense of presence. Three different sets of 18 subjects completed the same memory task, the first set in reality, the second using non-realistically rendered 3D with audio on a typical display, and the third under audio-only conditions. Users attended a 15 minute seminar and completed two questionnaires which assessed their memory of the seminar and the environment as well as their level of presence.