Presence is Key: Unlocking Performance Benefits of Immersive Virtual Reality

AbstractHigh immersion in virtual reality is often hypothesized to improve learning and memory. This immersion benefit is frequently attributed to presence, the user’s feeling of being present inside the computer-generated environment. Obtaining learning gains due to high immersion may however be difficult, as is evidenced by the null results of multiple studies in this area. In the current study we investigated the role of presence in low- and high-immersion virtual reality settings. No differences in performance in object location and spatial memory were found between low- and high-immersive conditions. Yet, when considering self-report measures of presence, performance improvements in the high immersive condition did become apparent. The finding of the importance to consider the role of presence in virtual reality highlights the complexity of immersion effects in simulated environments.


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