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See detailIdentifying the Cognitive Mechanism Behind Breaks in Presence using Measures of Attention
Holl, Elisabeth UL; Huber, Kerstin; Liebold, Benny et al

Scientific Conference (2018, May 28)

Presence is the perceptual illusion of non-mediation in virtual environments with breaks in presence (BIPs) marking events where the user’s attention is shifted away from the virtual to the physical ... [more ▼]

Presence is the perceptual illusion of non-mediation in virtual environments with breaks in presence (BIPs) marking events where the user’s attention is shifted away from the virtual to the physical environment. Using the concept of BIP allows to investigate specific episodes during virtual encounters, where the state of presence is interrupted. Orienting responses have been identified as a promising cognitive mechanism behind BIPs. However, the differences of orienting to narrative stimuli versus BIPs remains to be investigated. In the current study, we combined established psychophysiological measures of orienting (ECG, GSR) with psychophysiological (pupil dilation) and behavioral measures (STRT) of attention. BIPs are considered to elicit stronger orienting responses and require more cognitive resources. In an experiment, participants navigated through a virtual environment while having to react to narrative and external (BIPs) stimuli. While the data collection has been completed, results from the analysis will be discussed at the conference. [less ▲]

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See detailWe are slowly getting there: Towards Continuous Assessment of Presence in Virtual Environments
Liebold, Benny; Pietschmann, Daniel; Huber, Kerstin et al

Scientific Conference (2017, September 07)

The phenomenon of non-mediation is an important factor in virtual experiences. Users seem to ignore their physical surroundings and become present in the virtual environment (VE). Assessing presence in ... [more ▼]

The phenomenon of non-mediation is an important factor in virtual experiences. Users seem to ignore their physical surroundings and become present in the virtual environment (VE). Assessing presence in VEs with continuous measures is an ongoing effort both to complement the data provided by self-report measures and to identify specific events during virtual experiences that disrupt presence (“breaks in presence”; BIPs, Slater & Steed, 2002). Early studies employed self-report measures for BIPs, but have also identified specific psychophysiological reactions bearing the potential to develop a continuous measure—the nature of these reactions, however, has been unclear. We argue that BIPs can be considered as orienting responses (ORs; Sokolov, 1963) as users interact with VEs based on dedicated mental models and direct all their attention to virtual stimuli. When a new virtual stimulus is incompatible with these mental models, an OR is triggered, directing user attention at the source of the stimulus to determine its cause. ORs have been linked to psychophysiological reactions (Bradley, 2009) similar to the ones reported for BIPs. We designed a series of three studies to investigate this account to BIPs. Two studies are already complete, while a third study is currently being conducted. In all studies, users played Skyrim (Bethesda, 2011) modified to include stimuli that can be considered as BIPs not belonging to the VE. We measured psychophysiological responses using ECG and GSR. In study 1 (N = 31) participants played for M = 82.08 minutes (SD = 34.23) and encountered ten different types of BIP stimuli (e.g. error message, game crash) determined empirically through a prestudy. In line with previous literature on ORs, we found significant responses in ECG and GSR for all BIPs with a clearly defined stimulus onset. Additionally, we found a habituation effect of repeated exposure to the error message consistent with habituation of orienting. Analysis of blinking activity showed prolonged intervals during BIPs consistent with the information acquisition function of ORs. In study 2 (N = 69) participants played for M = 22.02 minutes (SD = 7.1). We employed a modified secondary-task reaction time (STRT) procedure in addition to psychophysiological measurements to compare ORs towards a game-related stimulus with ORs towards a BIP-stimulus. By pressing a footswitch, participants had to react to a crying baby, embedded into the game’s narrative, or a similarly pitched interference pattern of two sinewaves. Although we expected faster reaction times for game-related stimuli, we found similar reaction times for both types of stimuli. However, we could replicate the psychophysiological patterns from study 1. Both sounds equally elicited ORs with game-related stimuli leading to stronger responses and habituation. The data from the first two studies indicate that BIPs can be considered a type of OR, suggesting a promising avenue towards continuous measurement of presence. Following a similar design, Study 3 employs a STRT task based on more intricate considerations of the processes in human working memory (Oberauer, 2009). Additionally, pupil dilation is being assessed to investigate cognitive load associated with responses to game-related stimuli and BIPs. [less ▲]

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See detailA Modified Secondary Task Reaction Time Paradigm for Research on Breaks in Presence
Huber, Kerstin; Holl, Elisabeth UL; Liebold, Benny et al

Scientific Conference (2017, May 28)

Breaks in presence are considered a promising approach to investigate events where users are pulled out of their virtual experiences. In this paper, we argue that this methodology may also provide ... [more ▼]

Breaks in presence are considered a promising approach to investigate events where users are pulled out of their virtual experiences. In this paper, we argue that this methodology may also provide insights into the cognitive processes behind the presence experience. To this end, we combined breaks in presence with a modified version of the secondary task reaction times paradigm and psychophysiological measures to tap into the attentional processes behind presence experiences. 69 participants played a modified video game, during which they had to react to sounds that were either part of the story or unrelated (breaks in presence) as a secondary task. We measured their reaction times to both sound types, skin conductance responses and heart rate variability. Participants reacted equally fast to virtual and BIP-eliciting stimuli. Both types of stimuli elicit orienting responses with our virtual stimulus leading to stronger responses and habitualization. Avenues for future research are discussed. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 3 (1 UL)