Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Presence and Memory: Immersive Virtual Reality Effects on Cued Recall

Presence and Memory: Immersive Virtual Reality Effects on Cued Recall

Jakki Bailey, Jeremy N. Bailenson, Andrea Stevenson Won, June Flora and K. Carrie Armel

Stanford Tech Report - only Preliminary Results


Presence, the psychological experience of “being there,” is an important construct to consider when investigating the impact of mediated experiences on cognition. Though several studies have investigated the influence of presence on the memory of virtual environments (i.e. recalling virtual objects), few have tested how presence impacts memory on subsequent tasks in the physical world. Thirty-three male and female college students were exposed to a pro-environmental message in an immersive virtual environment. After the virtual reality treatment, they completed a memory task in the physical world regarding pro-environmental principles. Results showed a significant negative association between levels of reported presence in the virtual world and the number of correct water conservation examples remembered in the physical world. These findings suggest that media technology that induces presence can influence an individual’s ability to remember information in the physical world. Possible theoretical explanations of how presence may negatively impact cognition are presented.


Here they seek to relate a specific component of VW to memory, viz., presence or subjective levels of being there, with memory recall in cueing experiments.

They use a nVisor SX111 HMD (NVIS, Reston, VA) with a resolution of 2056 x 1024 and a refresh rate of 120 frames per second to perform the work, framerate is very high compared to Oculus, which may improve presence?  Need to keep this in mind.

Experiment context is that the task involved an environmental narrative, so emotional resonance with such a concept could be a factor here as well.  Does it work the same with other more humdrum narratives?

They also look at free recall and cued recall, so the memory tests are of a different type in each case to cover possibly differing memory processes.

Useful presence scale for assessing level of presence: "A five- item scaled was adapted from presence scales used in previous studies (Bailenson and Yee, 2007; Ahn & Bailenson, 2011; Nowak & Biocca, 2003)."

Note they get a NEGATIVE correlation with memory and presence (n=33).  This needs to be considered for my experiments.  It would be interesting to see if a comparison with desktop levels of presence will map to my other results with Unity and Metasonic?!?!?

Negative correlation is potentially explained by:

1. Vivid inputs from VW could drain cognitive capacity to remember items.
2. Arousal - high levels of emotion - limit memory tasks.
3. People who report high levels of presence actually remember things using different processes, and so are actually a different subject group, so could be a confounding factor that needs to be controlled.
4. Only correlational experiment, no details on causation, so needs further work.

An interesting result, bring out many research questions to answer on the relationship of VW elements with cognitive processes.


Lin, Duh, Parker, Abi-Rached, & Furness, 2002
Mania & Chalmers, 2001
Dinh, Walker, Song, Kobayashi, and Hodges 1999 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: Virtually True: Children’s Acquisition of False Memories in Virtual Reality

Virtually True: Children’s Acquisition of False Memories in Virtual Reality


Journal of Media Psychology, 12:371–393, 2009

DOI: 10.1080/15213260903287267

Previous work on human memory has shown that prompting participants with false events and self-relevant information via different types of media such as narratives, edited 2-dimensional images, and mental imagery creates false memories. This study tested a new form of media for studying false memory formation: Immersive Virtual Environment Technology (IVET). Using this tool, we examined how memory was affected by viewing dynamic simulations of avatars performing novel actions. In the study, 55 preschool and elementary children were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 memory prompt conditions (idle, mental imagery, IVET simulation of another child, or IVET simulation of self). Each child was questioned 3 different times: once before the memory prompt, once immediately after the memory prompt, and once approximately 5 days after the memory prompt. Results showed that preschool children were equally likely to develop false memories regardless of memory prompt condition. But, for elementary children, the mental imagery and IVET self conditions caused significantly more false memories than the idle condition. Implications regarding the use of digital media in courtroom settings, clinical therapy settings, entertainment, and other applications are discussed.


Interesting, another acronym - Immersive Virtual Environment Technology (IVET).  I don't like it, prefer 3D virtual worlds.  But I guess the use of immersive is pertinent here.

Note here that experiments were performed with children, not adults.  They state that the vulnerability of preschool children to suggestive influences is very high, so may not apply to adults.

They also bring up the source monitoring judgement as an experimental task; viz. the identification of sources of memories, and how it is actually poorly managed on the part of the brain.

They also state that narratives are commonly used to test false memories.  Are these analogous to workflows, and the place of false memories in elicitation?!?!?

Conjecture: Is the imposition of a process a form of false memory imputation over the actuality of the work processes in an enterprise?  Or, for any elicitation process for that matter?  Thus the more real the stimuli, the more likely to get the truth?  Possible research question here.

They note that narrative information previously used in experiments is not that rich.  The media richness theory suggests a greater effect from IVETs.

Interesting passage:

"In another set of studies, college students heard simple action statements and in some conditions either performed or imagined the action as well (Goff & Roediger, 1998). In a second session, participants imagined performing actions (some of which came from the first session and some of which were new) either one, three, or five times. In the third session, participants were asked to identify actions only if they had occurred in the first session and, if identified, to tell whether the action statement had been carried out, imagined, or merely heard. The main finding was that increasing the number of imaginings during the second session caused participants to later remember that they had performed an action during the first session when in fact the participant had not."

Note the influence of imagination over the actual memory of a performed event.  This seems to hold across familiar and non-familiar actions - relevant to knowledge elicitation.  If you get people to imagine badly, they will report badly.

They also note the power of imaging past actions; very close and personal stimuli and feedback interactions in the person's head.  May be part of a feedback loop.

Another key factor here:

"We believe that the manipulation explored by Strange and colleagues (2008) is important and would like to offer a complementary hypothesis to explain the reported effect. We propose that personalized photographs were more powerful stimuli because they fulfilled the personal focus criterion in- volved in media richness. The personal focus involved in the media richness criteria is influential in the memory process because it causes humans to self-reference; people encode more attributes when they are engaged in self-referent processing than other types of processing (Symons & Johnson, 1997). The greater the amount of information encoded the more similar the memory becomes to a memory of a physical world event, and the greater the likelihood that a source monitoring error will occur."

This is the key here to me, not regarding false memories, but regarding actual memories.  Such an idea lends further weight to the fact that elicitation is enhanced by personal recollection, but may be further confounded if the personal recollection has edits introduced.  So, we have a mechanism here for the noise involved in recollection, especially that which is false, not just knocked out due to functional problems, such as random memory lapses.

They note that use of media may provide a low-cognitive organisation environment, compared to abstract representations, such as text.  This may lead, in fact, to more inaccuracy, as errors are amplified by the nature of the immersion involved.

Their summation indicates that children are affected by false narratives, even in a passive viewing, non-interactive manner, with the IVET.  This indicates a predictable effect on people of experiencing false stories in IVETs, and leads to the conclusion that such environments should be used with caution, but that they hold promise in enabling better recall, if the stimuli are accurate.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: The Effect of Interactivity on Learning Physical Actions in Virtual Reality

The Effect of Interactivity on Learning Physical Actions in Virtual Reality

Jeremy Bailenson, Kayur Patel, Alexia Nielsen, Ruzena Bajscy, Sang-Hack Jung & Gregorij Kurillo

Media Psychology, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2008


Virtual reality (VR) offers new possibilities for learning, specifically for training individuals to perform physical movements such as physical therapy and exercise. The current article examines two aspects of VR that uniquely contribute to media interactivity: the ability to capture and review physical behaviour and the ability to see one's avatar rendered in real time from third person points of view. In two studies, we utilised a state-of-the-art, image-based tele-immersive system, capable of tracking and rendering many degrees of freedom of human motion in real time. In Experiment 1, participants learned better in VR than in a video learning condition according to self-report measures, and the cause of the advantage was seeing one's avatar stereoscopically in the third person. In Experiment 2, we added a virtual mirror in the learning environment to further leverage the ability to see oneself from novel angles in real time. Participants learned better in VR than in video according to objective performance measures. Implications for learning via interactive digital media are discussed.


The interesting idea here to me is the possibility of understanding how the movements are better encoded due to visual and proprioceptive feedback.  The question then, is this a two way mechanism?  If the same stimuli are presented, will it bring back better memory.  In addition, is it a movement encoding.  Can the encoding be accessed better by an expert.  Here they are novices in training, what happens if the person already knows the moves, but cannot explain them.  Can they explain them better if they have an immersive 3D view of their actions?  No brainer, it should work in this case clearly.  The question is, will it work as well if the visualisation is not the user of the tool at that moment in time.

They use the term "Sea of Cameras," would have thought a forest would be more apt. :-)

Experiment 1 

They rate the VR learning experience more positively.  Found the VR trainer to be more credible.

Experiment 2

VR version of learning system outperformed the video version, with significant results.

Interesting Quote:

"In fact, there is ample research dedicated to the discordance among self report measures and behavioural measures when measuring behaviour in virtual reality (Bailenson et al., 2004, Bailenson,
Swinth, et al., 2005;  Slater, 2005), concluding that neither self-report nor behavioural measures are sufficient, and that only by examining a host of measures can one assess virtual behaviour"

Shows that we need to use repeated versions of both behavioural and subjective to obtain insights into the effectiveness of such VR interfaces.  Need to keep this in mind for future experiments.

The image reproduction methods used in the paper are poor (think Kinect image level) so the quality of the images in the Tai Chi lessons may have had an effects on results.  Also, they had to look forward to compare themselves in the VR case; a cave or HMD might be better in this case due to a universal viewpoint capability.  Using an Oculus might introduce better results due to ego centre being situated in the training space.


Bailenson, J. N., Aharoni, E., Beall, A. C., Guadagno, R. E., Dimov, A., & Blascovich,
J. (2004). Comparing behavioral and self-report measures of embodied agents’
social presence in immersive virtual environments. Proceedings of the 7th Annual
International Workshop on PRESENCE, October 13–15, Valencia, Spain.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Boast: My Talented Games Project Students!

On Friday the 31st October our games degree had its industry showcase at the QUT Cube.  Gaute Rasmussen from SAE spoke and a great night was had by around 300 people playing the games created by our students.

Photos are available here:

Our students also published their games that week to the web and generated some great outcomes.  At one stage one of the games, "Primitives," was sitting at number 2 on IndieDB!  I counted six of our games on the IndieDB banner, highlighted by the site.  Great stories have ensued of teams being reviewed on Rock Paper Shotgun and other leading blogs, and of course, the regular YouTube playthroughs from our Russian fans.

Matt Ford and I had a ball supervising them this year.  They have been the best we have ever seen in this unit.

But, don't take my word for it, here is a list of the games available at IndieDB, please download and enjoy!



Get Quest -
Pipe Runners -
Pirates vs Robots -
Ghost Lord -
2199 -
Azuruk -
Apex Genetics -
Robot Wars -
Treasure Raid -
Sweet Revenge -
Symphony Quest -
Primitives -
Ignis Uprising -

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Boast: You know you have the best job in the world...

...when your employer buys five Oculus Rifts for you to use. :-)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Invite: QUT Games Degree Showcase

QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty is pleased to invite you to the QUT Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment (BGIE) End of Year Showcase.

Date:Friday, 31st October, 2014

Time:5:00pm – 9pm (5:30pm Proceedings Start)

Venue: The Cube, Level 4, P Block, Gardens Point Campus, QUT, 4001

RSVP:Please RSVP to Ross Brown 

Come and see demonstrations of the best polished and published games created by BGIE degree students. The show is an opportunity for you and other industry to meet our graduating students and see their outstanding work.
Have fun playing these new games and catch up with friends and colleagues from the industry!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Paper: Augmenting and assisting model elicitation tasks with 3D virtual world context metadata

Just had a paper I have written with Stefanie Rinderle-Ma, Simone Kriglstein and Sonja Kabicher-Fuchs accepted for COOPIS 2014.  Paper is found here.

This is the fourth paper I have had published this year with Simone, part of a productive collaboration with my Austrian colleagues.

Abstract. Accurate process model elicitation continues to be a time consuming task, requiring skill on the part of the interviewer to extract explicit and tacit process information from the interviewee. Many errors occur in this elicitation stage that would be avoided by better activity recall, more consistent specification methods and greater engagement in the elicitation process by interviewees. Theories of situated cognition indicate that interactive 3D representations of real work environments engage and prime the cognitive state of the viewer. In this paper, our major contribution is to augment a previous process elicitation methodology with virtual world context metadata, drawn from a 3D simulation of the workplace. We present a conceptual and formal approach for representing this contextual metadata, integrated into a process similarity measure that provides hints for the business analyst to use in later modelling steps. Finally, we conclude with examples from two use cases to illustrate the potential abilities of this approach.