Studying the Effects of Being Einstein: An Experiment in Social Virtual Reality

  •  Ian Cummins    
  •  Damian Schofield    


Previous research has found that when using virtual reality, a person can have a sense of ownership over the body that is being substituted for their own in the virtual world, and that the body’s appearance may lead to different behavioral, attitudinal, and perceptual changes. As Virtual Reality (VR) becomes more widespread, it is increasingly important to understand the effects on its users. This study utilized a novel methodology to conduct remote testing in virtual reality, leveraging a popular social virtual reality platform to test whether participants using Einstein as their virtual body performed better at a cognitive task than participants using other virtual bodies, and did not find any effect or correlation of the virtual body with any of the factors measured. The results suggest that the effects of virtual embodiment on the user stemming from the virtual body's appearance is more complex than previously assumed, warranting further study.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1913-8989
  • ISSN(Online): 1913-8997
  • Started: 2008
  • Frequency: quarterly

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