Mel Slater

Mel Slater
University of Barcelona | UB · Experimental Virtual Environments Lab for Neuroscience and Technology

BSc MA MSc DSc

About

523
Publications
248,380
Reads
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37,599
Citations
Introduction
Please see my group's web page www.event-lab.org and melslater.me. Please note that I rarely look at researchgate and don't respond to requests or queries on this site.
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
October 2008 - present
University of Barcelona
Position
  • ICREA Research Professor
January 2006 - September 2008
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Position
  • ICREA Research Professor
January 1996 - present
University College London
Position
  • Professor of Virtual Environments
Description
  • P/T role.

Publications

Publications (523)
Article
Domestic violence has long-term negative consequences on children. In this study, men with a history of partner aggression and a control group of non-offenders were embodied in a child’s body from a first-person perspective in virtual reality (VR). From this perspective, participants witnessed a scene of domestic violence where a male avatar assaul...
Article
Full-text available
We review the concept of presence in virtual reality, normally thought of as the sense of “being there” in the virtual world. We argued in a 2009 paper that presence consists of two orthogonal illusions that we refer to as Place Illusion (PI, the illusion of being in the place depicted by the VR) and Plausibility (Psi, the illusion that the virtual...
Article
Full-text available
Recent evidence supports the use of immersive virtual reality (immersive VR) as a means of applying visual feedback techniques in neurorehabilitation. In this study, we investigated the benefits of an embodiment-based immersive VR training program for orthopedic upper limb rehabilitation, with the aim of improving the motor functional ability of th...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual reality (VR) affords the study of the behaviour of people in social situations that would be logistically difficult or ethically problematic in reality. The laboratory-controlled setup makes it straightforward to collect multi-modal data and compare the responses across different experimental conditions. However, the scenario is typically f...
Preprint
We created a virtual reality version of a 1983 performance by Dire Straits. To understand the responses of participants we carried out two studies which used sentiment analysis of texts written by the participants. Study 1 (n = 25) (Beacco et al., 2021, Disturbance and Plausibility in a Virtual Rock Concert, IEEE Virtual Reality) had the unexpected...
Chapter
Brain-computer interfacing (BCI) that reads brain activity and generates commands to control the movements of the body—real, virtual, prosthetic or robotic—can be used as a means for neurorehabilitation. BCI can be used to carry out motor actions which, being lost through the real body, bypass it and use other effectors. However, do BCI-generated b...
Article
Full-text available
The proportion of the population who experience persecutory thoughts is 10–15%. People then engage in safety-seeking behaviours, typically avoiding social interactions, which prevents disconfirmatory experiences and hence paranoia persists. Here we show that persecutory thoughts can be reduced if prior to engaging in social interaction in VR partic...
Article
The Golden Rule of ethics in its negative form states that you should not do to others what you would not want others to do to you, and in its positive form states that you should do to others as you would want them to do to you. The Golden Rule is an ethical principle, but in virtual reality (VR), it can also be thought of as a paradigm for the pr...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual Reality can be used to embody people in different types of body—so that when they look towards themselves or in a mirror they will see a life-sized virtual body instead of their own, and that moves with their own movements. This will typically give rise to the illusion of body ownership over the virtual body. Previous research has focused o...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual reality applications depend on multiple factors, for example, quality of rendering, responsiveness, and interfaces. In order to evaluate the relative contributions of different factors to quality of experience, post-exposure questionnaires are typically used. Questionnaires are problematic as the questions can frame how participants think a...
Article
There is an alarming level of violence by police in the US towards African Americans. Although this may be rooted in explicit racial bias, the more intractable problem is overcoming implicit bias, bias that is non-conscious but demonstrated in actual behavior. If bias is implicit it is difficult to change through explicit methods that attempt to ch...
Article
Full-text available
Traditional work on bystander intervention in violent emergencies has found that the larger the group, the less the chance that any individual will intervene. Here, we tested the impact on helping behavior of the affiliation of the bystanders with respect to the participants. We recruited 40 male supporters of the U.K. Arsenal football club for a t...
Article
Full-text available
When people hold implicit biases against a group they typically engage in discriminatory behaviour against group members. In the context of the implicit racial bias of ‘White' against ‘Black' people, it has been shown several times that implicit bias is reduced after a short exposure of embodiment in a dark-skinned body in virtual reality. Embodime...
Article
Full-text available
Recent behavioural studies have provided evidence that virtual reality (VR) based interventions have an impact on socio-affective processes and accumulating findings now underscore the potential of VR for therapeutic interventions. An interesting recent finding is that experiencing a violent situation as a victim in immersive VR leads to an increas...
Article
When people hold implicit biases against a group they typically engage in discriminatory behaviour against group members. In the context of the implicit racial bias of 'White' against 'Black' people, it has been shown several times that implicit bias is reduced after a short exposure of embodiment in a dark-skinned body in virtual reality. Embodime...
Article
Full-text available
As part of the open sourcing of the Microsoft Rocketbox avatar library for research and academic purposes, here we discuss the importance of rigged avatars for the Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR, AR) research community. Avatars, virtual representations of humans, are widely used in VR applications. Furthermore many research areas ranging from cr...
Article
Full-text available
Immersive virtual reality is widely used for research and clinical purposes. Here we explored the impact of an immersive virtual scene of intimate partner violence experienced from the victim's perspective (first person), as opposed to witnessing it as an observer (third person). We are ultimately interested in the potential of this approach to reh...
Article
Full-text available
Group pressure can often result in people carrying out harmful actions towards others that they would not normally carry out by themselves. However, few studies have manipulated factors that might overcome this. Here male participants (n = 60) were in a virtual reality (VR) scenario of sexual harassment (SH) of a lone woman by a group of males in a...
Article
Full-text available
In this experiment, we aimed to measure the conscious internal representation of one's body appearance and allow the participants to compare this to their ideal body appearance and to their real body appearance. We created a virtual representation of the internal image participants had of their own body shape. We also created a virtual body corresp...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in body representation may affect pain perception. The effect of a distorted body image, such as the telescoping effect in amputee patients, on pain perception, is unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether distorting an embodied virtual arm in virtual reality (simulating the telescoping effect in amputees) modulated pain perception a...
Article
Full-text available
Would people feel guilty if their robot avatar acted autonomously to harm someone? We examined the experience of guilt during robot avatar embodiment, a form of embodiment where the participants experience the body of a humanoid robot as if it were their own. In particular, we analyzed what happens when a robot avatar spontaneously verbally abuses...
Poster
Full-text available
We present an experiment designed to investigate whether seeing a virtual double performing an action in a social context can impact participants' psychological state. With the help of a 3D scanning process, we are interested in exposing participants suffering from moderate paranoid thinking to a ubiquitous social situation where they see their vir...
Article
Full-text available
When faced with a personal problem people typically give better advice to others than to themselves. A previous study showed how it is possible to enact internal dialogue in virtual reality (VR) through participants alternately occupying two different virtual bodies – one representing themselves and the other Sigmund Freud. They could maintain a se...
Article
Full-text available
Background Virtual reality (VR) is increasingly used to study and treat psychiatric disorders. Its fidelity depends in part on the extent to which the VR environment provides a convincing simulation, for example whether a putatively stressful VR situation actually produces a stress response. Methods We studied the stress response in 28 healthy men...
Article
Full-text available
Background Persecutory delusions are a major psychiatric problem and are associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes. Our theoretical model views these delusions as unfounded threat beliefs which persist due to defence behaviours (e.g. avoidance) that prevent disconfirmatory evidence being processed. The treatment implications are that patient...
Article
Full-text available
When we successfully achieve willed actions, the feeling that our moving body parts belong to the self (i.e., body ownership) is barely required. However, how and to what extent the awareness of our own body contributes to the neurocognitive processes subserving actions is still debated. Here we capitalized on immersive virtual reality in order to...
Article
Full-text available
In Milgram’s seminal obedience studies, participants’ behaviour has traditionally been explained as a demonstration of people’s tendency to enter into an ‘agentic state’ when in the presence of an authority figure: they attend only to the demands of that authority and are insensitive to the plight of their victims. There have been many criticisms o...
Data
Time taken to shock. Difference between experimental conditions on the measure ‘timetoshock’. (TIFF)
Data
Manipulation check. Explanations, items, and analysis of the questionnaire used to assess the efficacy of the priming. (Table 1) Items used to assess priming efficacy. (Table 2) Correlations for priming scores. (PDF)
Data
Data collected from participants. (XLS)
Data
Familiarity with computers. Box plots of responses to how familiar participants were with computer use, programming, and prior experience of VR, where 1 = Not at all and 7 = very much so. (TIFF)
Data
Descriptive statistics of responses to the identification manipulation. Bar charts showing the means and standard errors of the combined priming questionnaire score derived from the Polychoric PCA over the questionnaire scores. (TIFF)
Data
Program used to run the analysis. (PDF)
Data
Visual of the Virtual Reality paradigm. A participant in the Cave faces the Learner. In Figure A the ‘Learner’ is the virtual male character wearing a ‘UCL’ sweatshirt. Behind the character are the cue word and 4 response words. The participant is seated at a desk, and his right hand is turning up the voltage on the shock machine. Figure B shows th...
Data
Responses to the identification manipulation. Box plots of responses to the manipulation of (a) the identification with students (i.e. non-science) questionnaire and (b) the identification with science questionnaire. The medians are the thick horizontal lines and the boxes show the interquartile ranges (IQR). The whiskers extend from max (min value...
Data
Stress measure. Items and procedural information relating to the APQ stress measure. (PDF)
Data
Presence. Background information, items, and effect sizes of presences measures. (Table 1) The full set of presence questions and effect sizes comparing the two groups. (PDF)
Data
Familiarity with technology. Items and effect sizes for items measuring participants experiences with gaming, computers, programming, and VR. (Table 1) Questions and their effect sizes. (PDF)
Data
Familiarity with Milgram. Box plot showing participants’ level of familiarity with Milgram’s obedience studies across conditions. The effect size comparing Science with Non-Science is .047, indicating no difference between groups. (TIFF)
Data
Descriptive statistics of RSPL scores. Bar chart showing mean ± SE of RSPL; (A) By the Control and Experimental (Science, Non-Science) groups (B) Distinguishing the Science and Non-Science groups. (TIFF)
Data
Relationship between helping and stress. Scatterplot illustrating the relationship between helping and stress by experimental group. (TIFF)
Data
Avatar script. Procedure used for randomising participants to conditions and the script followed by the avatar (i.e. the ‘Learner’). (PDF)
Data
Familiarity with Milgram. Items measuring participants’ levels of familiarity with Milgram’s obedience studies. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Modifying the visual aspect of a virtual arm that is felt as one's own using immersive virtual reality (VR) modifies pain threshold in healthy subjects but does it modify pain ratings in chronic pain patients? Our aim was to investigate whether varying properties of a virtual arm co-located with the real arm modulated pain ratings in patients with...
Article
Full-text available
Mortality is an obvious if uncomfortable part of the human condition, yet it is impossible to study its impact on anyone who experiences it. Reports of phenomena associated with death such as out-of-the-body (OBE) and near death experiences (NDE) can only be studied post-hoc, since it is impossible to design a scientific study where an experimental...
Data
The data set. Some individual defining characteristics such as age and religion have been removed for data protection reasons. (CSV)
Data
Pro and anti Catalan texts used, together with the evaluation questions for both texts (Spanish). (DOCX)
Data
The sample—A summary of the demographic variables. (DOCX)
Data
Responses to email sent 15 days after the final day of the experiment. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
A virtual reality scenario called “We Wait” gives people an immersive experience of the plight of refugees waiting to be picked up by a boat on a shore in Turkey to be illegally taken to Europe, crossing a dangerous stretch of sea. This was based on BBC news reporting of the refugee situation, but deliberately depicted as an animation with cartoon-...
Article
Full-text available
Virtual Reality (VR) has been widely applied to cultural heritage such as the reconstruction of ancient sites and artifacts. It has hardly been applied to the reprise of specific important moments in history. On the other hand immersive journalism does attempt to recreate current events in VR, but such applications typically give the viewer a disem...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Engaging, interactive, and automated virtual reality (VR) treatments might help solve the unmet needs of individuals with mental health disorders. We tested the efficacy of an automated cognitive intervention for fear of heights guided by an avatar virtual coach (animated using motion and voice capture of an actor) in VR and delivered...
Article
Full-text available
The brain's body representation is amenable to rapid change, even though we tend to think of our bodies as relatively fixed and stable. For example, it has been shown that a life-sized body perceived in virtual reality as substituting the participant's real body, can be felt as if it were their own, and that the body type can induce perceptual, att...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has not been fixed in the paper.
Article
This commentary briefly reviews the history of virtual reality and its use for psychology research, and clarifies the concepts of immersion and the illusion of presence.
Article
Full-text available
The ability to perspective-take (cognitive awareness of another's state) and empathise (emotional/affective response) are important characteristics for sensitive, co-operative and constructive parenting, which assists in developing adaptive functioning for children. For the first time, immersive virtual reality was used to place parents in the posi...
Article
Full-text available
People's mental representations of their own body are malleable and continuously updated through sensory cues. Altering one's body-representation can lead to changes in object perception and implicit attitudes. Virtual reality has been used to embody adults in the body of a 4-year-old child or a scaled-down adult body. Child embodiment was found to...
Chapter
Virtual reality (VR) typically results in the illusion of presence. The participant in a VR scenario typically has the illusion of being in the virtual place, and under the right conditions the further illusion that events that are occurring there are really occurring. We review how these properties are useful for the application of VR in education...