Nehal Pandya

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VIRTUAL REALITY

Blog Post created by Nehal Pandya on Jul 6, 2018

How VR Works?

VR – using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. Scientists, theorists, and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true VR experience, but in general, it should include:

  • Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user
  • The ability to track a user’s motions, particularly his head and eye movements, and correspondingly adjust the images on the user’s display to reflect the change in perspective.

Virtual reality is the emulation of reality made through electronic devices. Even if you’re playing a simple game like Counter-Strike, you’re playing a game of a virtual reality. In this case, you’re just performing a decent emulation of the visuals and sounds of that reality.

“Virtual reality”, generally means “immersive virtual reality”, the one that you can experience through a headset. You put a goggle on your head and you start seeing a virtual environment all around you. You can even move your head around and see all parts of that virtual environment surrounding you.

It is like you’ve been teleported there. This way, you’ve emulated perfectly the visuals, you’re tricking your brain that you’re somewhere else.

The Illusion Of VR

There are two main components of immersion: depth of information and breadth of information.

The depth of information refers to the amount and quality of data in the signals a user receives when interacting in a virtual environment. For the user, this could refer to a display’s resolution & the complexity of the environment’s graphics.

The breadth of information is the “number of sensory dimensions simultaneously presented.” A virtual environment experience has a wide breadth of information if it stimulates all your senses. Most virtual environment experiences prioritize visual and audio components over other sensory-stimulating factors, but a growing number of scientists and engineers are looking into ways to incorporate other senses as well.

To have a perfect emulation, you have to trick all 5 senses.

With video and audio we’re currently at a good point and with haptics, we have something usable. Smell & Taste have had some experiments. In the future,  we are surely bound to use some brain-computer-interface to inject sensorial information directly into our brain.

For example, with a taste, you can use temperature and electricity on the tongue to stimulate the gustatory sensors of our body. For smell, you emit little particles of scents towards the nose; with visuals, you use a little screen split in two to give with some knowledge of optics magic to make the experience more immersive.

In a virtual reality environment, a user experiences immersion, or the feeling of being inside and a part of that world. He is also able to interact with his environment in meaningful ways. The combination of a sense of immersion and interactivity is called telepresence. Computer scientist Jonathan Steuer defined it as “the extent to which one feels present in the mediated environment, rather than in the immediate physical environment.” In other words, an effective VR experience causes you to become unaware of your real surroundings and focus on your existence inside the virtual environment.

A mind is a tool that can be tricked by the visual organ, the eye, into believing that it is present entirely in a different reality. And for this illusion to work, the tool of the illusion, that is the VR headset has to be potent enough.

To put it in simpler words, there should not be any other stimuli other than the content you want the user to experience i.e there should be no other light source or the screen should be crystal clear and so on.

Technology is just an illusion that tricks your mind at the end of the day.

Virtual Reality is the cherry on the cake of technology.

Blog by: GoodWork Labs

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