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Study of acclimatisation using virtual reality

Alberto, Cristina; (2000) Study of acclimatisation using virtual reality. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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When people first visit an unfamiliar city they vary in their ability to construct a mental map. The skills they need in order to construct an effective mental map are known generally as acclimatisation, and specifically as orientation and way-finding. Orientation is having an image of where one is in a city, and way-finding is the skill of being able to find a location. Some people's orientation and way-finding skills are so poorly developed that they suffer anxiety when visiting unfamiliar places. The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether or not immersion influences acclimatisation. In this study virtual environments are applied in order to test acclimatisation. It addresses whether or not virtual environments may be used to enable people to familiarise themselves with a place before ever visiting it. The subjects were then taken to Cambridge and their orientation and way-finding skills were tested, measured and analysed. They also completed a questionnaire relating to subjective acclimatisation. The computer model captured a part of Cambridge City centre and contained many features which added realism. However, although state of the art computer hardware and software were used it was possible to model only a part of the city. Even then much detail could not be included, neither could sound nor moving figures. In order to determine which features are most important in becoming acclimatised, and therefore should not be omitted from the model, four preliminary studies were carried out modelling smaller environments. Additionally, there was a pilot study using the Cambridge model to debug the methodology of the study and test the logistics of observing task performance. The main experiment included four display types which compared new technology, such as desktop and virtual reality with traditional technology, such as video and pictures. Forty subjects, who had never visited Cambridge before, were organised into groups of ten, to use each of the above mentioned display types. The results suggest a significantly higher degree of spatial learning amongst those who experienced immersive virtual environments, specifically in their orientation results. However, there was no significant difference in the performance in way-finding tasks between the types of display.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Study of acclimatisation using virtual reality
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Applied sciences; Virtual reality
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107636
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