Recent studies encourage the development of sensorially-enriched media to enhance the user experience by stimulating senses other than sight and hearing. Sensory effects as odor, wind, vibration and light effects, as well as an enhanced audio quality, have been found to favour media enjoyment and to have a positive influence on the sense of Presence and on the perceived quality, relevance and reality of a multimedia experience. In particular, sports is among the genres that could benefit the most from these solutions. Several works have demonstrated also the technical feasibility of implementing and deploying end-to-end solutions integrating sensory effects into a legacy system. Thus, multi-sensorial media emerges as a mean to deliver a new form of immersive experiences to the mass market in a non-disruptive manner. However, many questions remain concerning issues as the sensory effects that can better complement a given audiovisual content or the best way in which to integrate and combine them to enhance the user experience of a target audience segment. The work presented in this paper aims to gain insight into the impact of binaural audio and sensory (light and olfactory) effects on the sports media experience, both at the overall level (average effect) and as a function of users’ characteristics (heterogeneous effects). To this aim, we conducted an experimental study exploring the influence of these immersive elements on the quality and Presence dimensions of the media experience. Along the quality dimension, we look for possible variations on the quality scores assigned to the overall media experience and to the media components content, image, audio and sensory effects. The potential impact on Presence is analyzed in terms of Spatial Presence and Engagement. The users’ characteristics considered encompass specific personal affective, cognitive and behavioral attributes. At the overall level we found that participants preferred binaural audio over standard stereo audio and that the presence of sensory effects increased significantly the level of Spatial Presence. Several heterogeneous effects were also revealed as a result of our experimental manipulations. Whereas binaural audio was found to have a generalized impact on the majority of the quality and Presence measures considered, the effects of sensory effects concentrate mainly on the Presence dimension. Personal characteristics explained most of the variation in the dependent variables, being individuals’ preferences in relation to the content, knowledge of involved technologies, tendency to emotional involvement and conscientiousness among the user variables with the most generalized influence. In particular, the former two features seem to present a conflict in the allocation of attentional resources towards the media content versus the technical features of the system, respectively. Additionally, football fans’ experience seems to be modulated by emotional processes whereas for not fans cognitive processes –and in particular those related to quality judgment– prevail.
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The work presented in this manuscript was developed partially within the ImmersiveTV project. The authors would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Industry Tourism and Commerce for its support through the funded project TSI-020302-2010-61.
Appendix 1 Measuring instruments and factors
The measures gathered during the experiments are summarized as follows (scales in brackets). In the case of direct scores the question asked is included preceded by a Q.
Screening for (corrected to-) normal visual acuity and stereopsis:
Snellen Chart: screening for normal visual acuity
self-developed materials based on Annex 1 of ITU-R Recommendation BT.1438 : screening for normal stereopsis
BDI-II – Beck Depression Inventory : The BDI_Score was computed from the answers of each participant to the questionnaire [1–10: normal; 11–16: mild mood disturbance; 17–20: borderline clinical depression; 21–30: moderate depression; 31–40: severe depression; over 40: extreme depression]
Previous knowledge of the involved technologies:
KTech. [1: none; 2: basic; 3: intermediate; 4: expert]; Q. How would you rate your current level of knowledge on video, audio or home automation technologies?
Preferences and habits in relation to the content:
Lfoot [5-point Likert scale from 1: not at all to 5: very much]; Q. How much do you like football?
Fview [5-point Likert scale from 1: never to 5: almost always]; Q. How frequently do you watch football matches?
FFT [1: RMCF; 2: FCB; 3: Other; 4: None]; Q. Please select from the following options the one that includes the football team of your preference. If you do not have a preferred team, please select option 4.
ITQ_Emot. Emotional involvement [continuous scale from 1 to 7]; it refers to the tendency to get emotionally involved. It is related to the degree of emotional reaction (either positive or negative) toward media exposure 
ITQ_Absor. Absorption [continuous scale from 1 to 7]; it refers to the tendency to become absorbed in / focus attention on an activity. It is related to the capability of an individual to concentrate and block out external and distracting stimuli .
BFI Measures: Personality traits – Big Five Questionnaire [5, 38, 39]: The following factors were computed from the answers of each individual to the questionnaire (see  for a comprehensive definition):
BFI_Extrav. Extraversion [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it implies an energetic approach toward the social and material world. That is, it measures to what extent an individual is oriented toward the external world (the opposite to introvert). In this sense, it includes traits such as sociable, active, assertive, outgoing and emotionally positive
BFI_Agr. Agreeableness [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it contrasts a prosocial and communal orientation towards others with antagonism. Agreeable persons can be generally described as trustful, helpful, altruist, tender-minded and modest
BFI_Cons. Conscientiousness [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it describes socially prescribed impulse control that facilitates task- and goal-directed behavior. It is generally associated with individuals that that tend to think before acting, perform well following norms and rules, planning, organizing and prioritizing tasks and that are hard-working, reliable, organized and self-disciplined. The trait has been also related to an increased perceptual sensitivity .
BFI_Neurot. Neuroticism [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it contrasts emotional stability and even-temperedness (low scores) with negative emotionality, such as feeling anxious, nervous, sad, and tense (high scores). People scoring high on neuroticism are usually nervous, insecure, anxious, vulnerable and excitable
BFI_Open. Openness to experience (vs. closed-mindedness) [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it describes the breadth, depth, originality, and complexity of an individual’s mental and experiential life. This factor is related to personality traits as adventurous, liberal, imaginative, receptive to new ideas and approaches and having a preference for variety
Presence and quality measures
ITC-SOPI measures: Presence dimensions - ITC-SOPI Questionnaire . The following factors were computed from the answers of each participant to the questionnaire:
SP. Spatial Presence [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it refers to a sense of physical placement in the mediated environment and of interaction with and control over parts of the mediated environment
Eng. Engagement [continuous scale from 1 to 5]; it refers to the feeling of psychological involvement and of enjoying the content
Quality measures - Quality assessment questionnaire (self-developed). Subjective quality assessment of each independent stimuli/component and of the overall QoE [11-point Likert scale from 0: extremely bad to 10: excellent]. We provide aclaratory notes associated to each quality measure on the specific issues encompassed by the component to be valuated, as follows:
QoC. Quality of Content as perceived by the user. It encompassess issues as the plot and the specific sequence of game events;
QoI. Quality of Image as perceived by the user. It encompassess issues as the image resolution, luminance, color, sharpness, contrast and depth;
QoA. Quality of Audio as perceived by the user. It encompassess issues as the audio clarity, naturalness, richness, sharpness and smoothness;
QoSE (only rated when SE = 1). Quality of Sensory Effects as perceivd by the user. It encompassess issues as the naturalness, richness and complementarity (to the sports media content) of sensory effects;
QoE. Overall Quality of Experience as perceived by the user. It refers to the global quality of the media experience (encompassing all the components presented).
Appendix 2. Recruiting e-mail
The participants were recruited via e-mail. We e-mailed our collegaues at several research centers and departments at the Technical University of Madrid asking for volunteers to participate in the experiment. We raffled off a Tablet PC among all the participants as incentive. The recruiting e-mail reads as follows:
During the last two years our VR Group at CeDInt has collaborated with other entities in a R&D project called ‘ImmersiveTV’. The project focuses on the creation of new immersive and interactive solutions aimed at complementing the media content with meaningful effects and/or functionalities.
The ImmersiveTV consortium has implemented an experimental setup integrating some of the immersive components considered in the project. Now we focus our efforts on analyzing the potential effect (either positive or negative, if any) of these components on the user experience. To that end we have designed a user experiment aimed at revealing how these components are perceived by the user in the light of his/her personal characteristics.
xThe purpose of this e-mail is to ask for volunteers to participate in the study. The experiment will take place in the ‘Demos’ Lab during the next two weeks. Volunteers will be exposed to the ‘enhanced’ media content and will be asked to valuate the experience on an individual basis according to his/her perception of it.
Should you be able to participate please contact me for further details on next steps.
Thank you in advance for your collaboration.
The ImmersiveTV team.
PS: A Tablet PC will be raffled off among all the participants in the experiment.
Appendix 3 Explanation Given To Participants Before The Experiment
In the laboratory, before initiating the experiment, we explained the general goals of the experiment and the procedure to be followed, as follows:
The goal of this experiment is to analyze the potential effect (either positive or negative, if any) of a set of sensory effects on the user experience with media. In particular, we aim to study how these sensory effects are perceived by the user in the light of his/her individual characteristics. Therefore, this experiment is not intended to validate the specific solution implemented in our test bed but to inform future research and development works on the use of sensory effects to complement media content.
The experiment comprises two sessions in which you will watch a report of the first and second parts of a football match between the F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid C.F. At each session, different sensory effects can be activated. We do not expect you to be particularly alert to these effects. On the contrary, we would ask you to relax and enjoy the experience as you would do in your living room.
After each session you will be asked to report on the experience using a questionnaire. Considering the previously mentioned goals we would like to ask you to be as faithful as possible to your individual perception of the experience in your answers to these questionnaires.
After this explanation, the participant was invited to formulate any question he/she may have and the issues raised were clarified at the same “general” level (i.e. without revealing further details on the content or the specific sensory effects introduced).
Appendix 4. Multivariate analysis on the independent variables (Pearson’s correlation analysis)
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Galloso, I., Palacios, J.F., Feijóo, C. et al. On the influence of individual characteristics and personality traits on the user experience with multi-sensorial media: an experimental insight. Multimed Tools Appl 75, 12365–12408 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11042-016-3360-z