Université de MontréalUniversité de Caen
Interdisciplinary Center for Virtual Reality

Sense of presence in virtual reality: moderating role of human factors on performance

An international cotutelle PhD in Psychology - Cognitive Neurosciences
(University of Caen Normandy, CIREVE / ERLIS, University of Montreal, ARViPL).

Click here to download the French manuscript



Neuropresence 1st person view (A.Maneuvrier)
  • The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test is an implementation of the traditional WCST (Berg, 1948) for virtual reality head mounted displays and CAVEs made at CIREVE. The WCST is considered a global measure of executive function, including a high sensitivity to frontal lobe dysfunction (Milner, 1963; Lange et al., 2018).
  • All the mechanisms of the paper-and-pencil neuropsychological test are respected: the subjects are immersed in a Far West American type environment built for the purpose of the experiment. They are seated on a moving cart and must respond to the test by manipulating a virtual laser via the controllers. The target and initial cards appear on the back of another moving cart. The environment consists of five large immersive areas all incorporating spatialized sound: a city, a river, a gold mine, a meadow, and a bandit village. Performance is calculated based on the total number of tries, the number of tries to find the first rule, and the number of errors made.
  • The virtual reality passation of 50 participants was compared to the paper-and-pencil traditionnal passation on 50 participants. Statistical analysis were made 1) to compare the performance between genders and groups and 2) to evaluate how performance differed between participants in the virtual modality group depending on human factors: gender, cybersickness, cognitive style, video game experience.

Paper submitted.
Authors: A. Maneuvrier, H. Ceyte, P. Renaud, R. Morello, P. Fleury, L. Decker.


Spatiopresence 1st person view (A. Maneuvrier)
  • In the case of spatial cognition, the virtual reality tool allows the analysis of different orientation and learning mechanisms, while maintaining experimental control of laboratory studies and the ecological validity of in situ studies (Parsons, 2015; Parsons et al., 2017; Da Costa et al., 2018).
  • In this protocol the participants had to follow a marked itinerary in a virtual environment mixing different buildings of Ancient Rome. At the end of their itinerary, they had to answer (always in immersion) a series of questions designed to evaluate their learning: for instance they have to say if they turned left or right in front of this or that piece of scenery, to say whether the element presented to them in the photo was really present on the itinerary, or to place photos or videos of the route on a continuum between the beginning and the end of the itinerary, etc. Following these questions, the participants were put back to the beginning of the environment and they were asked to complete the itinerary again, but this time without the markers to guide them.
  • Virtual reality allows the measurement of many behavioural variables that are important for the study of cognition and spatial navigation: the participant's continuous precise position, the number of errors he makes, his speed in completing the route, etc. Since navigation is done by teleported jumps via controllers, it does not generate any cybersickness.

Paper published in Frontiers in Virtual Reality (2020).
Authors: A. Maneuvrier, H. Ceyte, L. Decker, P. Fleury, P. Renaud


Nav(i)r 1st person view (A. Maneuvrier)
  • The impact that virtual reality has on an individual's perception is still unclear. The purpose of this study called Nav(i)r is to investigate the effect of a virtual immersion on the cognitive style (field dependence) of a participant. Indeed, field dependence is strongly related to cybersickness, as more field dependent persons experience more negative symptoms. The question here is then to measure field dependence before and after an immersion in order to evaluate the effect that virtual reality has on this cognitive style. It is indeed possible that participants recalibrate their sensorial integration to reduce the weight of visual (non-pertinent) stimuli in order to prevent the emergence of negative symptoms.
  • The protocol was similar to the one of Spatiopresence, but spatial cognition was not the purpose of the study. The aim was to evaluate if the evolution of field dependence might be related to cybersickness and sense of presence, and if some human factors like the video game experience can help predicting this reaction. This investigation could bring a better understanding of the interaction between human factors and system factors, but also a better fondamental comprehension of perception and sensorial integration.

Paper published in Frontiers in Virtual Reality (2021).
Authors: A. Maneuvrier, L.Decker, P. Renaud, P. Fleury, H. Ceyte


Edupresence-like environment (K. Sammour)
  • This study proposes to study the impact of different human factors on information retention performance in a classical pedagogical virtual reality learning test. Its objectives are to understand whether certain individuals benefit more from the technology, and in particular to see if there are differences in performance according to the level of presence of the participants (Heeter, 1992; Sheridan, 1992). Since the pedagogical use of virtual reality is developing rapidly, whether for the presentation of missing content as in the case of the Plan of Rome Visits or learning in extreme or dangerous situations, it is fundamental to understand the factors that can influence in virtuo learning.
  • This protocol used a large screen with active stereoscopy. Stereoscopic display is an important part of virtual reality since it allows the perception of objects floating in front of the screen and the dept perception. But when used on a large scale (70 participants in this protocol), the effect that the distance from the stereoscopic reference might have on participants perception is unknown. Thus, the distance of each participant to this reference point was incorporated into the factorial analysis.
  • This study provides discussions and reflections on the applications of virtual realty learning environments and promotes them as pedagogical reference tools, particularly in the cultural heritage field.

Paper in preparation.
Authors: A. Maneuvrier, K. Sammour, B. Verjut, P. Renaud, P. Fleury


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