www.igroup.org – project consortium
a multi-disciplinary project consortium.
addresses new interfaces between humans and the real and virtual environment.
defines itself through project work.
Presence is the subjective sense of being in a virtual environment. The fact that one takes a virtual environment for real and experiences real emotions in it has recently been taken advantage of for treating phobias in VR. Examples are fear of heights, fear of flights, or fear of spiders. In our Acrophobia study, the goal was to investigate the relation between presence and the amount of anxiety one is experiencing in front of a virtual cliff.
To do so, our participants entered a virtual environemnt by means of HMD, and were exposed to a virtual cliff. We measured trait anxiety and avoidance behavior, as well as state anxiety and presence with psychological scales. We showed that the fear was determined both by the sense of presence and the general fear of heights. We can conclude that being present in a virtual environment contributes to the development of emotions.
The results of the project were presented at HCI 97 and received a 4th prize at the contest "Deutscher Studienpreis", awarded by the German foundation Koerber-Stiftung.
Regenbrecht, H., Schubert, T., & Friedmann, F. (1998). Measuring the Sense of Presence and its Relations to Fear of Heights in Virtual Environments. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 10(3), 233-250.