Assessment of Psychophysiological Differences of West Point Cadets and Civilian Controls Immersed within a Virtual Environment

  • Thomas D. Parsons
  • Christopher Courtney
  • Louise Cosand
  • Arvind Iyer
  • Albert A. Rizzo
  • Kelvin Oie
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5638)


An important question for ecologically valid virtual environments is whether cohort characteristics affect immersion. If a method for assessing a certain neurocognitive capacity (e.g. attentional processing) is adapted to a cohort other than the one that was used for the initial normative distribution, data obtained in the new cohort may not be reflective of the neurocognitive capacity in question. We assessed the psychophysiological impact of different levels of immersion upon persons from two cohorts: 1) civilian university students; and 2) West Point Cadets. Cadets were found to have diminished startle eyeblink amplitude compared with civilians, which may reflect that cadets experienced less negative affect during the scenario in general. Further, heart rate data revealed that Cadets had significantly lower heart rates than Civilians in the “low” but not “high” immersion condition. This suggests that “low” immersion conditions may not have the ecological validity necessary to evoke consistent affect across cohorts.


virtual environment psychophysiological assessment immersion ecological validity neuropsychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas D. Parsons
    • 1
  • Christopher Courtney
    • 1
  • Louise Cosand
    • 1
  • Arvind Iyer
    • 1
  • Albert A. Rizzo
    • 1
  • Kelvin Oie
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.Marina del ReyUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Army Research Laboratory.USA

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