Implicit Learning Through Embodiment in Immersive Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) typically results in the illusion of presence. The participant in a VR scenario typically has the illusion of being in the virtual place, and under the right conditions the further illusion that events that are occurring there are really occurring. We review how these properties are useful for the application of VR in education. We present a further illusion that can be triggered in VR referred to as body ownership. This can occur when the participant sees a life-sized virtual body substituting her or his own, from first person perspective. This virtual body can be programmed to move synchronously with the participant’s real body movements, thus leading to the perceptual illusion that the virtual body is her or his actual body. We survey various experiments that show that the form of the virtual body can result in implicit changes in attitudes, perception and cognition, and changes in behavior. We compare this with the process of implicit learning and conclude that virtual body ownership and its consequences may be used as a form of implicit learning. We conclude by suggesting how the study of the relationship between body ownership and implicit learning might be taken forward.
KeywordsVirtual reality Education Implicit learning Embodiment Body ownership
Some of the work described in this article was the product of various funded projects: Ser Einstein: la influencia de internalizar un cuerpo virtual en la inteligencia, Ministerio de Economía, Industria, y Competitividad, Spain (PSI2014-56301-R); Virtual Embodiment and Robotic Re-Embodiment (VERE) European Union FET (#257695); Transcending Reality—Activating Virtual Environment Responses through Sensory Enrichment (TRAVERSE) European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (#227985); BEAMING, Augmented Multi-Modal Naturally-Networked Gatherings, FP7 EU collaborative project (#248620).
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