Slap Happy Study: 1st Person View Most Immersive

Ever wonder why you might feel more immersed in a first-person perspective  videogame than in a similar third-person title? A study by European researchers might help to provide a little insight.

The study seemed to show that male subjects, outfitted with virtual reality goggles, reacted more strongly to their on-screen female avatar being slapped when in first-person mode than in a third-person view.

Live Science sums up the research, in which male subjects were simultaneously stroked on their shoulder in real life, while their on-screen avatar was being similarly stroked on-screen by a virtual mother. Suddenly the virtual mom slapped the on-screen avatar three times in the face, resulting in the male subjects experiencing “rapid deceleration of their heart rates as a normal bodily response to a threat, because they reacted to the virtual slap as if it were real.”

The male participants did not exhibit the same results when taking part in a setup that utilized a third-person perspective.

The results caused one of the researchers to state, “The experiment reported here is the first that shows that ownership can be transferred to an entirely virtual body, using an experimental design that separates perspective position from visuotactile stimulation.”

It was claimed that the study was the first of its kind to include perspective, movement and touch at the same time.

Additionally:

The first-person perspective’s power held even after the perspective changed to a top-down view. Male volunteers still experienced the shock of the virtual slap even when they no longer felt the shoulder stroking by the real-life lab assistant and watched from above as the mother suddenly slapped her daughter.

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