Effects of virtual environment platforms on emotional responses

Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2014 Mar;113(3):882-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2013.12.024. Epub 2014 Jan 7.


The goal of the current study was to investigate the effects of different virtual environment (VE) technologies (i.e., desktop, head mounted display, or fully immersive platforms) on emotional arousal and task performance. Fifty-three participants were recruited from a college population. Reactivity to stressful VEs was examined in three VE systems from desktop to high-end fully immersive systems. The experiment was a 3 (desktop system, head mounted display, and six wall system)×2 (high- and low-stressful VE) within subject design, with self-reported emotional arousal and valence, skin conductance, task performance, presence, and simulator sickness examined as dependent variables. Replicating previous studies, the fully immersive system induced the highest sense of presence and the head mounted display system elicited the highest amount of simulator sickness. Extending previous studies, the results demonstrated that VE platforms were associated with different patterns in emotional responses and task performance. Our findings suggest that different VE systems may be appropriate for different scientific purposes when studying stress reactivity using emotionally evocative tasks.

Keywords: Emotion; Human–computer interaction; Psychophysiology; Psychotherapy; Stress; Virtual environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Computational Biology
  • Emotions*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Young Adult