By pressing on a real red button, rector magnificus Prof. Annelien Bredenoord has opened the new Virtual Reality facility at the Erasmus Behavioural Lab. Last year the EBL board made funds available for a pilot using virtual reality in research. After exploring the needs of the researchers, two main areas were emphasized for the pilot: 1) the integration of virtual reality with eye-tracking and motion-tracking data, and 2) the integration of virtual reality with physiological data. These two areas fit well with the call for more in-depth psychological research into sensory perception, multi-sensory integration, emotions and attention.
In the first studies using virtual reality, Dr. Marta Andreatta (ESSB) will investigate how immersion in a virtual environment, for example, a sunny day at the beach, can enhance the stress-reducing effect of a mindfulness intervention. Prof. Yvonne van Everdingen (RSM), dr. Ana Martinovici (RSM), and dr. Ana Scekic (ESE) will use eye-tracking and motion data inside a virtual shop to examine the role of attention in consumer choice processes.
Without the VR glasses on, the Virtual Reality lab is a modest display: a room with a computer, a table and a chair. Yet, supported by the enthusiastic EBL team, cutting-edge research in virtual worlds will take place here. We hope and expect that these pilots will be followed by more interesting and important research, e.a. the planned research by Prof. Dr. Matthias Wieser and Prof. Yvonne van Everdingen and colleagues on use of virtual reality in mental healthcare, within the convergence for health and technology program of Erasmus University, TU Delft and Erasmus MC.
If you are researcher and would like to know more about using virtual reality for your research, please contact the EBL at email@example.com.