Cognitive Demands of Semi-Natural Virtual Locomotion
There is currently no fully natural, general-purpose locomotion interface. Instead, interfaces such as gamepads or treadmills are required to explore large virtual environments (VEs). Furthermore, sensory feedback that would normally be used in real-world movement is often restricted in VR due to constraints such as reduced field of view (FOV). Accommodating these limitations with locomotion interfaces afforded by most virtual reality (VR) systems may induce cognitive demands on the user that are unrelated to the primary task to be performed in the VE. Users of VR systems often have many competing task demands, and additional cognitive demands during locomotion must compete for finite resources. Two studies were previously reported investigating the working memory demands imposed by semi-natural locomotion interfaces (Study 1) and reduced sensory feedback (Study 2). This paper expands on the previously reported results and adds discussion linking the two studies. The results indicated that locomotion with a less natural interface increases spatial working memory demands, and that locomotion with a lower FOV increases general attentional demands. These findings are discussed in terms of their practical implications for selection of locomotion interfaces when designing VEs.
This article is from Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 22 (2013): 216–234, doi:10.1162/PRES_a_00152. Posted with permission.