Distance Perception in Virtual Reality

Date
2014-04-15
Authors
Hammel, William
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Altmetrics
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Psychology
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Psychology
Abstract

Distance perception in virtual reality is radically different than distance perception in the real world. For example, distances tend to be underperceived in virtual reality, and anisotropic effects of distance perception seen in the real world are exacerbated. Three experiments were conducted examining distance perception in virtual reality. The first two experiments examined the speed of improvement as a result of interaction and the transfer of improvement across different scales of space. The third experiment examined the anisotropic effect of distance orientation on perceived distance within the virtual environment. The first experiment found that five interaction trials resulted in a large improvement in perceived distance, and subsequent interactions also continued improvement, but suffered heavily from diminishing returns. In the second experiment, interaction with near (1-2m) objects improved distance perception for near but not far (4-5m) objects, while interaction with far objects improved distance perception for both near and far objects. In the third experiment, the orientation of the distances between the objects significantly affected distance perception between all but two of the conditions. These results help generate strategies to reduce underperception in virtual reality, and help distinguish between theories of how interacting with environments influences perceived distances.

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