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VR – Acrophobia

Usage Guidelines
This demo is also intended to serve as a tutorial on how to construct a virtual reality experiment. It can be fully modified and has been designed in a modular format with extensive comments to allow reuse of parts in other experiments. Code is written in the Python programming language and extensive support on programming with Python is provided in the software package and user forums. 3D models from the demo can be reused within the VR platform (only).

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Details

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vr01_environ.jpg
Screen shots from the environment

Objectives

  1.  To expose the participant to different heights in a virtual environment.
  2. To record the resulting physiological responses.

Overview

The participant is moving up on a construction elevator in an environment designed to emphasize the perception of height. Movement can be controlled by the experimenter and/or participant’s physiological reactions.
This demo is based on the work of Wilhelm et al (2005). There are seven ‚floors‚ for the elevator (different height levels). There are two modes of the experiment depending on what controls the vertical movement of the elevator:

Participant-controlled—Progress to the next level is allowed only if there were no SCR responses in the last 20 seconds and the SCL level has not been rising for the last 20 sec.

Experimenter-controlled—Progress to the next level is initiated by a keystroke from the experimenter.

In the participant-controlled mode SCL data is sent from the data acquisition machine (ACQ) to the virtual reality rendering machine (VR). The responses are analyzed in real-time to determine when the participant should move to the next height level.

In both experiment modes digital marker data is sent from VR to ACQ. Key events in the virtual world (i.e. going to a new height level) are marked in the physiological record to facilitate automatic data analysis.

Data analysis

Since levels of the independent variable (height of the participants) are marked in the physiological record, an automated analysis of the collected physiological data can be performed, identifying SCR responses for each height level.

Videos

VR Demo – Acrophobia

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Hardware Packages   |   VR – Acrophobia

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