The effects of substitute multisensory feedback on task performance and the sense of presence in a virtual reality environment

Cooper, Natalia ORCID: 0000-0002-2078-9358, Milella, Ferdinando, Pinto, Carlo, Cant, Iain, White, Mark ORCID: 0000-0002-8611-9525 and Meyer, Georg
(2018) The effects of substitute multisensory feedback on task performance and the sense of presence in a virtual reality environment. PLOS ONE, 13 (2). e0191846-.

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Objective and subjective measures of performance in virtual reality environments increase as more sensory cues are delivered and as simulation fidelity increases. Some cues (colour or sound) are easier to present than others (object weight, vestibular cues) so that substitute cues can be used to enhance informational content in a simulation at the expense of simulation fidelity. This study evaluates how substituting cues in one modality by alternative cues in another modality affects subjective and objective performance measures in a highly immersive virtual reality environment. Participants performed a wheel change in a virtual reality (VR) environment. Auditory, haptic and visual cues, signalling critical events in the simulation, were manipulated in a factorial design. Subjective ratings were recorded via questionnaires. The time taken to complete the task was used as an objective performance measure. The results show that participants performed best and felt an increased sense of immersion and involvement, collectively referred to as 'presence', when substitute multimodal sensory feedback was provided. Significant main effects of audio and tactile cues on task performance and on participants' subjective ratings were found. A significant negative relationship was found between the objective (overall completion times) and subjective (ratings of presence) performance measures. We conclude that increasing informational content, even if it disrupts fidelity, enhances performance and user's overall experience. On this basis we advocate the use of substitute cues in VR environments as an efficient method to enhance performance and user experience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Task Performance and Analysis, Feedback, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Young Adult, Virtual Reality
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 10:07
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:42
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191846
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