JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In

Summary

Abstract

Introduction

Protocol

Representative Results

Discussion

Acknowledgements

Materials

References

Behavior

Virtual Reality Experiments with Physiological Measures

Published: August 29th, 2018

DOI:

10.3791/58318

1Chair of Cognitive Science, ETH Zürich, 2Geographic Information Visualization and Analysis, University of Zürich, 3Digital Society Initiative, University of Zürich

Virtual reality (VR) experiments can be difficult to implement and require meticulous planning. This protocol describes a method for the design and implementation of VR experiments that collect physiological data from human participants. The Experiments in Virtual Environments (EVE) framework is employed to accelerate this process.

Virtual reality (VR) experiments are increasingly employed because of their internal and external validity compared to real-world observation and laboratory experiments, respectively. VR is especially useful for geographic visualizations and investigations of spatial behavior. In spatial behavior research, VR provides a platform for studying the relationship between navigation and physiological measures (e.g., skin conductance, heart rate, blood pressure). Specifically, physiological measures allow researchers to address novel questions and constrain previous theories of spatial abilities, strategies, and performance. For example, individual differences in navigation performance may be explained by the extent to which changes in arousal mediate the effects of task difficulty. However, the complexities in the design and implementation of VR experiments can distract experimenters from their primary research goals and introduce irregularities in data collection and analysis. To address these challenges, the Experiments in Virtual Environments (EVE) framework includes standardized modules such as participant training with the control interface, data collection using questionnaires, the synchronization of physiological measurements, and data storage. EVE also provides the necessary infrastructure for data management, visualization, and evaluation. The present paper describes a protocol that employs the EVE framework to conduct navigation experiments in VR with physiological sensors. The protocol lists the steps necessary for recruiting participants, attaching the physiological sensors, administering the experiment using EVE, and assessing the collected data with EVE evaluation tools. Overall, this protocol will facilitate future research by streamlining the design and implementation of VR experiments with physiological sensors.

Understanding how individuals navigate has important implications for several fields, including cognitive science1,2,3, neuroscience4,5, and computer science6,7. Navigation has been investigated in both real and virtual environments. One advantage of real-world experiments is that navigation does not require the mediation of a control interface and thus may produce more realistic spatial behavior. In contrast, virtual reality (VR) experiments allow for more pr....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The following protocol was conducted in accordance with guidelines approved by the Ethics Commission of ETH Zürich as part of the proposal EK 2013-N-73.

1. Recruit and Prepare Participants

  1. Select participants with particular demographics (e.g., age, gender, educational background) using a participant recruitment system or mailing list (e.g., UAST; http://www.uast.uzh.ch/).
  2. Contact selected participants by e-mail. In this e-mail, remind the participa.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

From each participant in the NeuroLab, we typically collect physiological data (e.g., ECG), questionnaire data (e.g., the Santa Barbara Sense of Direction Scale or SBSOD31), and navigation data (e.g., paths through the virtual environment). For example, changes in heart rate (derived from ECG data) have been associated with changes in stress states in combination with other physiological32 and self-report measures<.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

In the present paper, we described a protocol for conducting experiments in VR with physiological devices using the EVE framework. These types of experiments are unique because of additional hardware considerations (e.g., physiological devices and other peripherals), the preparatory steps for collecting physiological data using VR, and data management requirements. The present protocol provides the necessary steps for experimenters that intend to collect data from multiple peripherals simultaneously. For example.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The virtual environment was kindly provided by VIS Games (http://www.vis-games.de) to conduct research in virtual reality.

....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Alienware Area 51 Base Dell  210-ADHC Computation
138cm 4K Ultra-HD LED-TV Samsung UE55JU6470U Display
SureSigns VS2+ Philips Healthcare 863278 Blood Pressure
PowerLab 8/35 AD Instruments PL3508 Skin Conductance
PowerLab 26T (LTS) AD Instruments ML4856 Heart Rate
Extreme 3D Pro Joystick Logitech 963290-0403 HID

  1. Gallistel, C. R. . The Organization of Learning. , (1990).
  2. Waller, D., Nadel, L. . Handbook of Spatial Cognition. , (2013).
  3. Denis, M. . Space and Spatial Cognition: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. , (2017).
  4. Epstein, R. A., Patai, E. Z., Julian, J. B., Spiers, H. J. The cognitive map in humans: spatial navigation and beyond. Nature Neuroscience. 20, 1504 (2017).
  5. O'Keefe, J., Nadel, L. . The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map. , (1978).
  6. Kuipers, B. J. Modelling spatial knowledge. Cognitive Science. 2, 129-153 (1978).
  7. Heppenstall, A. J., Crooks, A. T., See, L. M., Batty, M. . Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems. , (2012).
  8. Kuliga, S. F., Thrash, T., Dalton, R. C., Hölscher, C. Virtual reality as an empirical research tool - Exploring user experience in a real building and a corresponding virtual model. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. 54, 363-375 (2015).
  9. Credé, S., Fabrikant, S. I. Let's Put the Skyscrapers on the Display-Decoupling Spatial Learning from Working Memory. Proceedings of Workshops and Posters at the 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). , 163-170 (2018).
  10. Hodgson, E., Bachmann, E. R., Vincent, D., Zmuda, M., Waller, D., Calusdian, J. WeaVR: a self-contained and wearable immersive virtual environment simulation system). Behavior Research Methods. 47 (1), 296-307 (2015).
  11. Nilsson, N., et al. 15 Years of Research on Redirected Walking in Immersive Virtual Environments. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications. , 1-19 (2018).
  12. Razzaque, S., Kohn, Z., Whitton, M. C. Redirected walking. Proceedings of EUROGRAPHICS. , 105-106 (2001).
  13. Hodgson, E., Bachmann, E. Comparing Four Approaches to Generalized Redirected Walking: Simulation and Live User Data. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. 19 (4), 634-643 (2013).
  14. Nescher, T., Huang, Y. -. Y., Kunz, A. Planning redirection techniques for optimal free walking experience using model predictive control. 2014 IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (3DUI). , 111-118 (2014).
  15. Razzaque, S., Swapp, D., Slater, M., Whitton, M. C., Steed, A. Redirected walking in place. Eurographics workshop on virtual environments. , 123-130 (2002).
  16. Meilinger, T., Knauff, M., Bulthoff, H. Working Memory in Wayfinding-A Dual Task Experiment in a Virtual City. Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal. 32 (4), 755-770 (2008).
  17. Grübel, J., Thrash, T., Hölscher, C., Schinazi, V. R. Evaluation of a conceptual framework for predicting navigation performance in virtual reality. PLOS ONE. 12 (9), 0184682 (2017).
  18. Weisberg, S. M., Schinazi, V. R., Newcombe, N. S., Shipley, T. F., Epstein, R. A. Variations in Cognitive Maps: Understanding Individual Differences in Navigation. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition. , (2014).
  19. Wiener, J. M., Hölscher, C., Büchner, S., Konieczny, L. Gaze behaviour during space perception and spatial decision making. Psychological research. 76 (6), 713-729 (2012).
  20. Hassabis, D., Chu, C., Rees, G., Weiskopf, N., Molyneux, P. D., Maguire, E. A. Decoding Neuronal Ensembles in the Human Hippocampus. Current Biology. 19 (7), 546-554 (2009).
  21. Maguire, E. A., Nannery, R., Spiers, H. J. Navigation around London by a taxi driver with bilateral hippocampal lesions. Brain. 129, 2894-2907 (2006).
  22. Marchette, S. A., Vass, L. K., Ryan, J., Epstein, R. A. Anchoring the neural compass: coding of local spatial reference frames in human medial parietal lobe. Nature neuroscience. 17 (11), 1598-1606 (2014).
  23. Vass, L. K., et al. Oscillations Go the Distance: Low-Frequency Human Hippocampal Oscillations Code Spatial Distance in the Absence of Sensory Cues during Teleportation. Neuron. 89 (6), 1180-1186 (2016).
  24. Sharma, G., Gramann, K., Chandra, S., Singh, V., Mittal, A. P. Brain connectivity during encoding and retrieval of spatial information: individual differences in navigation skills. Brain Informatics. 4 (3), (2017).
  25. Richardson, A. E., VanderKaay Tomasulo, M. M. Influence of acute stress on spatial tasks in humans. Physiology & Behavior. 103 (5), 459-466 (2011).
  26. Duncko, R., Cornwell, B., Cui, L., Merikangas, K. R., Grillon, C. Acute exposure to stress improves performance in trace eyeblink conditioning and spatial learning tasks in healthy men. Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). 14 (5), 329-335 (2007).
  27. Klopp, C., Garcia, C., Schulman, A. H., Ward, C. P., Tartar, J. L. Acute social stress increases biochemical and self report markers of stress without altering spatial learning in humans. Neuro endocrinology letters. 33 (4), 425-430 (2012).
  28. Guenzel, F. M., Wolf, O. T., Schwabe, L. Sex differences in stress effects on response and spatial memory formation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 109, 46-55 (2014).
  29. van Gerven, D. J. H., Ferguson, T., Skelton, R. W. Acute stress switches spatial navigation strategy from egocentric to allocentric in a virtual Morris water maze. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 132, 29-39 (2016).
  30. Grübel, J., Weibel, R., Jiang, M. H., Hölscher, C., Hackman, D. A., Schinazi, V. R. EVE: A Framework for Experiments in Virtual Environments. Spatial Cognition X: Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence. , 159-176 (2017).
  31. Hegarty, M., Richardson, A. E., Montello, D. R., Lovelace, K., Subbiah, I. Development of a self-report measure of environmental spatial ability. Intelligence. 30, 425-447 (2002).
  32. Ziegler, M. G. Psychological Stress and the Autonomic Nervous System. Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System. , 189-190 (2004).
  33. Michaelis, J. R., Rupp, M. A., Montalvo, F., McConnell, D. S., Smither, J. A. The Effect of Vigil Length on Stress and Cognitive Fatigue. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 59 (1), 916-920 (2015).
  34. Helton, W. S. Validation of a Short Stress State Questionnaire. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 48 (11), 1238-1242 (2004).
  35. Wolbers, T., Hegarty, M. What determines our navigational abilities. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 14 (3), 138-146 (2010).
  36. Moussaïd, M., et al. Crowd behaviour during high-stress evacuations in an immersive virtual environment. Journal of The Royal Society Interface. 13 (122), (2016).
  37. . Lead positioning Available from: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/basics/lead-positioning/ (2017)
  38. Wilder, J. The law of initial value in neurology and psychiatry. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 125 (1), 73-86 (1957).
  39. Loomis, J., Knapp, J. Visual Perception of Egocentric Distance in Real and Virtual Environments. Virtual and Adaptive Environments. , 21-46 (2003).
  40. Richardson, A. R., Waller, D. The effect of feedback training on distance estimation in virtual environments. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 19 (8), 1089-1108 (2005).
  41. Klatzky, R. L., Loomis, J. M., Beall, A. C., Chance, S. S., Golledge, R. G. Spatial updating of self-position and orientation during real, imagined, and virtual locomotion. Psychological Science. 9, 293-298 (1998).
  42. Bakker, N. H., Werkhoven, P. J., Passenier, P. O. Calibrating Visual Path Integration in VEs. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. 10 (2), 216-224 (2001).
  43. Thrash, T., et al. Evaluation of control interfaces for desktop virtual environments. Presence. 24 (4), (2015).
  44. Kinateder, M., Warren, W. H. Social Influence on Evacuation Behavior in Real and Virtual Environments. Frontiers in Robotics and AI. 3, 43 (2016).
  45. Loomis, J. M., Blascovich, J. J., Beall, A. C. Immersive virtual environment technology as basic research tool in psychology. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers. 31 (4), 557-564 (1999).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo

Privacy

Terms of Use

Policies

Research

Education

ABOUT JoVE

Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved