YOUR BRAIN ON VIRTUAL REALITY
DO YOU PAY MORE ATTENTION TO VIRTUAL REALITY THAN TRADITIONAL MEDIA?
Over the past few years, Virtual Reality technology has become less sci-fi and more mainstream and accessible. Escaping reality and becoming fully immersed in another world has become an attractive choice for gamers (In fact, many other types of entertainment content are popularizing quickly in VR as well).
But do VR gamers pay more attention to virtual reality than actual reality? Does this mean that they enjoy virtual reality more than regular games?
By measuring brain activity and attention and emotion levels, the neuroscientists at SPARK investigated.
WHAT DID WE MEASURE?
We had our participants wear an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset, which is used to measure activity in the brain. Along with this we used galvanic skin response (GSR) to measure skin conductance affected by sweat glands, measuring emotional arousal.
WHAT DID WE TEST?
We set out to learn how participants’ attention differed playing a mobile game on an iPhone versus being immersed in the VR version.
When we originally tested them playing mobile games, attention levels varied but were rarely high for consistent periods of time.
This differed from when participants played in virtual reality, where attention levels were off the charts! While engrossed in virtual reality, attention to the stimuli remained extremely high from start to finish, much different than playing a mobile game. Accompanying this high attentiveness were emotions, which were more extreme.
WHAT WERE OUR FINDINGS?
According to our findings, we found the VR experience was far more immersive than traditional media, demonstrated by both the greater attention evoked and how it has the capacity to elicit stronger emotions.
However, as this is a new medium for entertainment, the strategies for how to best tell stories and create compelling interactions are still unfolding. Our next step is to study the specifics–how can companies unleash the powerful potential of virtual reality to successfully create the most highly engaging experiences on the market today?