Virtual Reality Simulations and Writing: a Neuroimaging Study in Science Education

  • Richard L. LambEmail author
  • Elisabeth Etopio


This study investigates the role that textbooks, virtual reality (VR), and mixed approaches (i.e., text and VR) can play in the development of the two writing types, summary and argument writing. This study uses hemodynamics as a proxy for learning. Differences in hemodynamic responses during writing tasks were measured across four different pedagogical modalities: VR alone, VR followed by textbook readings, textbook readings followed by VR, and textbook readings alone. Adult students N = 80, recruited from non-science-based higher education programs, responded to two prompts related to content found in the VR environment and discussed in the textbook. The authors hypothesized that exposure to a virtual marine environment prior to writing would enhance the two writing products, when compared with participants who only had access to textbook experiences. Of the four conditions participants exposed to the VR environment then a textbook demonstrated significantly greater hemodynamic response than those who had access to VR alone or text alone.


Virtual reality Writing in science fNIRS Neuroimaging 


Compliance and Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Subject Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.University at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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