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Measuring the Components of Personal Space Cognition in Simulated Immersive Virtual Environments

dc.contributor.advisorBodenheimer, Bobby
dc.creatorBuck, Lauren Elizabeth 2021
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation focuses on the interaction of virtual reality users with their immediate space. We commonly conceptualize the immediate space around the body as personal space, or the zone that separates our bodies from external stimuli. The maintenance of this space is an essential cognitive function that constantly shapes the way we interact with objects and people. We think about personal space in this dissertation in two categories: interpersonal and peripersonal space. Social psychologists have provided evidence that interpersonal space, or the distance that is maintained between two individuals, is a foundational element of social interactions. The interpersonal distance that one maintains between themself and others is correlated with the dimensions of the body, particularly height and arm length, and is linked to what neuroscientists have defined as peripersonal space. Peripersonal space is defined as the perceived reaching and grasping distance around oneself. Both interpersonal and peripersonal space have been shown to change based on differing interactions.Virtual reality facilitates interactions in ways that traditional technology does not – it offers a 3D interface that allows users to interact with objects and individuals similar to the real world and experience feelings of presence and embodiment. Thus, how users treat the interpersonal and peripersonal space around their bodies becomes important to understand since we want to provide accurate perceptual feedback in virtual reality to create realistic experiences. There are a multitude of different applications for work in this area, such as medical applications that provide therapy and assistive care for those with disabilities, defense training, and architectural and educational applications , among many others. In this work, we focus on understanding how interactions occur in these spaces. We show that: 1. interpersonal space is maintained in immersive virtual environments, but not always naturally; 2. peripersonal space can be measured in immersive virtual environments and it is sensitive to the context of the interaction; and 3. both interpersonal and peripersonal space change responsively in an immersive virtual environment, are dependent upon the level of embodiment a user experiences, and are not affected when the arm dimensions of users are manipulated. These findings inform the design decisions and problems that must be addressed to create quality virtual reality experiences
dc.subjectVirtual reality
dc.subjectinterpersonal space
dc.subjectpersonal space
dc.subjectperipersonal space
dc.titleMeasuring the Components of Personal Space Cognition in Simulated Immersive Virtual Environments
dc.type.materialtext Science University Graduate School
dc.contributor.committeeChairBodenheimer, Bobby

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