Vivid fantasies can help people feel more “present” in virtual reality. Study shows
London August 27: People with vivid imaginations are more likely than others to believe they really live in the worlds they visit in virtual reality (VR), according to new research.
The finding, published at this year’s CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, lays the groundwork for software developers to improve virtual reality applications by tailoring them to the personalities of individual players.
There has been a long-standing assumption that the quality of a user’s VR equipment directly improves the quality of their VR experience.
However, the new study by researchers at the University of Bath suggests that when it comes to the feeling of being in a virtual world, the nature of one’s imagination may be just as important, if not more so, as the quality of the equipment.
Dr Christopher Clarke, a researcher from the University of Bath’s Department of Computer Science, said: “We found that imagination is an important component of presence formation: the better a person’s imagination, the better able they are to find themselves in this world.”
The implications of this research extend far beyond gaming: in the coming years, virtual reality is expected to play an important role in many areas of life, from workplace training to medical rehabilitation programmes.
“This is certainly an area that needs further exploration if people and organizations want to integrate virtual reality into their lives,” said Dr. Clark.
In the study, the team set out to understand how differences in fantasy “allusion” — the ability to successfully experience a fictional scenario as if it were real — means that some people get more into VR than others.
This concept has been primarily investigated in the context of hypnosis, where those with a high degree of imaginative suggestibility also proved to be more likely to be put into a hypnotic trance. The researchers hypothesized that imaginative suggestibility played an important role in the development of “presence” in virtual reality.
Presence – the feeling of being “in” the virtual world – is important to how you experience virtual reality. It comes in three sub-types: physical presence: the feeling that the virtual space is real in reality; social presence: the feeling that other characters in the virtual world are real; Self-presence: the feeling that you are the avatar you embody in the virtual world.
“Attendance is useful for a wide variety of VR applications, from those intended for entertainment such as games, to applications for learning, training and rehabilitation. Research into attendance – how it works and how to increase it – is one of the most important and pioneering areas of VR research. However, much of this exploration has focused on the technology behind virtual reality,” said lead author Dr Crescent Jekyul, a research computer science at Bath.
The researchers believe that by examining how psychological factors such as fantasy suggestiveness can alter the effects of technology, developers will be in a position to design better virtual worlds for any application.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the WBSETCL team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.