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On the validity of virtual reality-based auditory experiments: a case study about ratings of the overall listening experience


In recent years, new developments have led to an increasing number of virtual reality (VR)-based experiments, but little is known about their validity compared to real-world experiments. To this end, an experiment was carried out which compares responses given in a real-world environment to responses given in a VR environment. In the experiment, thirty participants rated the overall listening experience of music excerpts while sitting in a cinema and a listening booth being in a real-world environment and in a VR environment. In addition, the VR system that was used to carry out the sessions in the VR environment is presented in detail. Results indicate that there are only minor statistically significant differences between the two environments when the overall listening experience is rated. Furthermore, in the real-world environment, the ratings given in the listening booth were slightly higher than in the cinema.

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  1. 1.

    In this paper, the term real-world experiment is used to describe experiments that were conducted under laboratory conditions in the real-world (and not in the VR). Sometimes this term is also used as a synonym for the term field experiment.

  2. 2.

    M = mean, SD = standard deviation, N = number of samples.

  3. 3.

    The significance level \(\alpha\) is set to 0.05 in this paper.


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The authors would like to thank Alexander Adami for taking pictures of the experiment apparatus and Marlene Röß for representing a participant in the pictures.

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Correspondence to Michael Schoeffler.

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Schoeffler, M., Gernert, J.L., Neumayer, M. et al. On the validity of virtual reality-based auditory experiments: a case study about ratings of the overall listening experience. Virtual Reality 19, 181–200 (2015).

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  • Virtual reality-based experiments
  • Overall listening experience
  • Convolution engine
  • Oculus Rift