This past year, Veronica Weser split her time between Google-funded virtual reality research in the Proffitt Perception VR Lab and more traditional psychological research on multisensory illusions and how they inform us of the interplay between top down expectations about the world and bottom up sensory experiences of the world. Her grant from Google on VR user perceptions of movement speed has been funded for a second year, and Veronica hopes to use the funding to investigate the whys and hows of a rather puzzling finding that emerged in five different studies of miss-matched VR and real world movement studies. She found that VR users are very sensitive to speed decreases, and relatively insensitive to speed increases. In other words, if someone moves at a natural walking speed in the real world and their corresponding movement speed in VR is slowed down just slightly, the decrease in speed will be noticed. However, if an individual moves at a normal walking speed in the real world and their movement in the virtual world is doubled, the change will just barely be noticeable.
Veronica hopes to receive feedback on this work at the 2016 International Summer School in Affective Science. In this week long seminar in Switzerland, Veronica will embark on an interdisciplinary project examining the intersection of virtual reality, robotics, video games and human-computer interaction for health and education utilizing the theoretical constructs of emotion, immersion, and user engagement.
This coming year, Veronica plans to finish her comprehensive exams and propose her dissertation. She will also be the instructor of record for the Introduction to Perception Laboratory class, and looks forward to teaching her very first class.