Emotional Response in VR


Overview over our experimental Virtual Reality learning system: (Left to Right) The original hand drawn proof of concept implementation from with permission for use granted from the Biological Computer Laboratory, University of Illinois. Our implementation of the original system using current state of the art fully immersive VR hardware. Manipulation of a Hypercube in immersive VR. Empatica E4 wristband device for collecting physiological data used in our ERVE methodology.

Abstract: Recent improvements of Virtual Reality (VR) technology have enabled researchers to investigate the benefits VR may provide for various domains such as health, entertainment, training, and education. A significant proportion of VR system evaluations rely on perception-based measures such as user pre- and post-questionnaires and interviews. While these self-reports provide valuable insights into users’ perceptions of VR environments, recent developments in digital sensors and data collection techniques afford researchers access to measures of physiological response. This work explores the merits of physiological measures in the evaluation of emotional responses in virtual environments (ERVE). We include and place at the centre of our ERVE methodology emotional response data by way of electrodermal activity and heart-rate detection which are analyzed in conjunction with event-driven data to derive further measures. In this paper, we present our ERVE methodology together with a case study within the context of VR-based learning in which we derive measures of cognitive load and moments of insight. We discuss our methodology, and its potential for use in many other application and research domains to provide more in-depth and objective analyses of experiences within VR.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the members of the Otago Human-Computer Interaction group, the Otago University Information Science department, and Brendon Woodford for their support and input on the project. Thanks also to the study participants for their time.