Influencing human affective responses to dynamic virtual environments

Mohammadhossein Moghimi*, Robert Stone, Pia Rotshtein, Neil Cooke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Detecting and measuring emotional responses whilst interacting with
Virtual Reality (VR), and assessing and interpreting their impacts on human
engagement and “immersion”, are both academically and technologically
challenging. Whilst many researchers have, in the past, focused on the affective
evaluation of passive environments, such as listening to music or the observation of videos and imagery, virtual realities and related interactive environments have only been used in a small number of research studies as a mean of presenting emotional stimuli. This paper reports the first stage (focusing on participants’ subjective responses) of a range of experimental investigations supporting the evaluation of emotional responses within a virtual environment, according to a three-dimensional (Valence, Arousal and Dominance) model of affects, developed in the 1970s and 1980s. To populate this three-dimensional model with participants’ emotional responses, an “affective VR”, capable of manipulating users’ emotions, has been
designed and subjectively evaluated. The VR takes the form of a dynamic
“speedboat” simulation, elements (controllable VR parameters) of which were
assessed and selected based on a 35-respondent online survey, coupled with the
implementation of an affective power approximation algorithm. A further 68
participants took part in a series of trials, interacting with a number of VR variations, while subjectively rating their emotional responses. The experimental results provide an early level of confidence that this particular affective VR is capable of manipulating individuals’ emotional experiences, through the control of its internal parameters. Moreover, the approximation technique proved to be fairly reliable in predicting users’ potential emotional responses, in various affective VR settings, prior to actual experiences. Finally, the analysis suggested that the emotional response of the users, with different gender and gaming experiences, could vary, when presented with the same affective VR situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-107
Number of pages27
Issue number2
Early online date14 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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