Virtual reality and the new psychophysics

Beatrice de Gelder*, Jari Katsyri, Aline W. de Borst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) promises methodological rigour with the extra benefit of allowing us to study the context-dependent behaviour of individuals in their natural environment. Pan and Hamilton (2018, Br. J. Psychol.) provide a useful overview of methodological recommendations for using VR. Here, we highlight some other aspects of the use of VR. Our first argument is that VR can be useful by virtue of its differences from the normal perceptual environment. That is, by virtue of its relative non-realism and poverty of its perceptual elements, it can actually offer increased clarity with respect to the features of interest for the researcher. Our second argument is that VR exerts its measurable influence more by eliciting an acceptance of the virtual world (i.e., suspension of disbelief') rather than by eliciting a true belief of the realism of the VR environment. We conclude by providing a novel suggestion for combining neuroimaging methods with embodied VR that relies on the suspension of disbelief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Volume109
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

  • virtual reality methods
  • belief
  • embodiment
  • UNCANNY VALLEY
  • BRAIN ACTIVITY
  • PERCEPTION
  • BEHAVIOR
  • MISMATCH
  • WORLD
  • FMRI

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