Ideated, lead, and analyzed a full-scale Virtual Reality (VR) study on human subjects to investigate the role of nature in VR experiences
This study sought to determine which, if any, of the benefits conferred by experiences in nature are conferred by an equivalent Virtual Reality (VR) experience. To this end, previous VR users were immersed in a virtual forest environment. Post-immersion, participants were measured on a variety of metrics including stress level, relaxation level, and directed attention abilities – metrics frequently showing significant effects from exposure to physical nature. Results indicate that experiences in virtual nature afford much the same psychological benefits of exposure to physical nature, but did not show the same kinds of attentional benefits. Experiencing nature in VR significantly decreased stress levels and increased relaxation levels.
[under review by the American Psychological Association]