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The apparent reality of movies and emotional arousal: A study using physiological and self-report measures



Historical developments of cinema technology have contributed to the apparent reality of movie-goers’ experience. The current study uses both self-report and physiological measures (heart-rate, skin conductance, skin temperature) as indices of 29 participants’ negative emotional arousal, so as to investigate the effect of increasing a movie's perceptual realism (i.e., stereoscopic depth) on emotional experience. Data were recorded while half of the participants viewed emotional movie scenes in 3D and half viewed them in 2D. The groups did not differ significantly in terms of their self-reported feelings of negative emotional arousal, tonic skin conductance level or skin temperature. However, the 3D group reported their experience as significantly more perceptually realistic (natural), and they also demonstrated a significantly higher heart-rate change-score than their counterparts in the 2D condition. Importantly, the current study provides evidence that these results are not due to group differences in emotional sensitivity, engagement, or the novelty of the 3D effect. Group differences in heart-rate, but not skin conductance level, suggest that increasing stereoscopic depth reduces the emotional regulation processes. Although caution is expressed about assumptions of causation, consideration is given to the idea that increased physiological arousal contributes to perceived apparent reality and vice versa.
Rooney, B., Benson, C. & Hennessy, E. (2012). The apparent reality of movies and emotional arousal:
A study using physiological and self report measures. Poetics, 40, 405-422.
The Apparent Reality of Movies and Emotional Arousal: A Study Using Physiological
and Self-Report Measures.
Historical developments of cinema technology have contributed to the apparent reality of
movie-goers’ experience. The current study uses both self-report and physiological measures
(heart-rate, skin conductance, skin temperature) as indices of 29 participants’ negative
emotional arousal so as to investigate the effect of increasing a movie’s perceptual realism
(i.e. stereoscopic depth) on emotional experience. Data were recorded while half of the
participants viewed emotional movie scenes in 3D, and half viewed them in 2D. The groups
did not differ significantly in terms of their self-reported feelings of negative emotional
arousal, tonic skin conductance level or skin temperature. However, the 3D group reported
their experience as significantly more perceptually realistic (natural) and they also
demonstrated a significantly higher heart-rate change-score than their counterparts in the 2D
condition. Importantly, the current study provides evidence that these results are not due to
group differences in emotional sensitivity, engagement, or the novelty of the 3D effect.
Group differences in heart-rate, but not skin conductance level, suggests that increasing
stereoscopic depth reduces the emotional regulation processes. Although caution is expressed
about assumptions of causation, consideration is given to the idea that increased
physiological arousal contributes to perceived apparent reality and vice versa.
1. Introduction
Since the Lumière brothers hosted the first public screening of a motion picture in
1895, major developments in cinema have made the experience seem more realistic. Over the
years we have been introduced to “the talkies”, the 3D movie, surround sound, CGI and high
definition; each development adding to the illusion of non-mediated reality in the cinema.
Yet, humans have used even the most primitive forms of fiction and storytelling since the
very first Homo sapiens wandered the planet more than 30,000 years ago (Mithen, 1998).
And in more modern times we know that even a story with shadow puppets can make our
emotions soar. One might wonder if these developments are even necessary. James
Cameron’s (2009) 3D blockbuster Avatar was made famous by its use of all the above
mentioned techniques to increase the illusion of non-mediated reality. In 2010, Avatar
smashed all box office records around the world and is currently the highest grossing movie
worldwide (over $2.7 billion). Presumably, these developments will continue and the movies
we see in the cinema will seem increasingly realistic. With these ideas in mind, the current
study seeks to explore the impact of such apparent realism on the psychological experience of
movie-watching and its associated emotions.
2. The law of apparent reality and the dual awareness model
Frijda (1988) attempted to formulate a set of laws or stable unifying characteristics
that, he argued, define and predict our emotional behaviour. One such characteristic is that
the intensity of an emotional experience is related to the extent to which the eliciting event is
appraised as “real” (i.e. the situation’s “apparent reality”). Thus according to Frijda’s “law of
apparent reality”, emotional arousal comes from events that are appraised as real rather than
referring to the actual validity of the event. At first, this law makes sense; there is no reason
to become emotional towards something that is not real. Yet people frequently become
emotional towards fiction and so this constitutes a special case that needs to be explained.
Grodal (2009) proposes an explanation for engagement with fiction using his PECMA
model (of Perceptions, Emotions, Cognitions and Motor Action). This model states that
people experience emotion towards narrative fiction due to an innate neural operation that
seeks to arrange psychological processes. According to Grodal, stories, by definition, operate
in-line with the way our neural mechanisms organise narrative, and involve the interaction of
perceptions, emotions, cognitions and actions. Thus for Grodal, films serve as “embodied
simulations” of everyday experience. The PECMA model argues that cognitive appraisal of
the film’s realism interacts with automatically triggered perceptions and emotions as part of
an embodied innate neurological system. Yet, without specific details about the way in which
these elements interact, this idea requires elaboration.
Tan’s (2008) dual awareness model offers such elaboration and allows for Frijda’s
law to remain true for fictional film, by conceptualising an independent yet symbiotic
appraisal system. Tan proposes that dealing with fiction is facilitated by two mental domains.
One of these domains, the “Entertainment Space”, engages with the fictional events as though
they were real, while the other domain, the “Executive Space”, supports the constructed
imagery of the entertainment space and interfaces with the real-world. According to Tan, the
ontological status of a fictional event (how real, plausible, or fictional it is) is appraised by
the executive space, while the entertainment space remains unaffected. According to Tan
(2008), it is the attention to these different spaces that regulates emotional arousal. When
attention is drawn away from the executive space, i.e. away from the fictional nature of the
events, the viewer becomes ‘drawn in’ to the film and the events they view are perceived as
more realistic. Equally, a realistic film creates emotional believability which, in turn, draws
attention away from the executive space. Disbelief sustains realism and realism sustains
According to the dual awareness model, the opposing process is also possible.
Viewers can regulate their emotional experiences by attending to the fictional nature of the
experience. Attending to the executive space serves to remind a viewer that “it is just a film”
and reduces emotional arousal. This attentional shift can also be caused by external forces (a
ringing phone or a nearby chatterbox) drawing attention towards the executive space and
reminding the viewer that they are merely watching fiction. This reduces the apparent reality
and in turn inhibits emotional arousal (towards the film at least). Thus the emotional
experience of watching film involves allowing oneself to switch off, become emotional and
be drawn in, while carefully keeping emotions in check and regulating their intensity by
attending to the fictional nature of events when necessary.
Importantly, this theory does not champion a simple one-way relationship between
apparent reality and emotional arousal. Tan (2008) claims that the emotional arousal the film
produces, in turn, sustains suspension of disbelief and accordingly aids the illusion of non-
mediated reality. Naturally, these processes would also interact with the content of the film
and variable viewer characteristics and preferences. But even with this complex interplay,
this theory can, in a sense, save Frijda’s law of apparent reality; whether it is the realism that
causes the emotion, vice versa or a combination of both, it allows for the prediction that there
will be a positive relationship between the level of realism a film demonstrates and the
associated emotional intensity of the experience.
3. Apparent reality, emotion, and their operational measures
Researchers have primarily conceived of realism as a multi-dimensional construct
(Busselle and Greenberg, 2000; Hawkins, 1977; Potter, 1988; Shapiro and Chock, 2004),
involving various types of subcomponents, such as, for example, how much a representation
simulates real sensory data, or how much it represents what is likely to occur in the real
world. Resulting from qualitative focus groups, Hall (2003) identified six dimensions that she
claimed constitute perceived realism; plausibility (something that could be true), typicality
(commonly or frequently occurs), factuality (accurate representation of specific real-world
events), narrative consistency (internal coherence of the story), involvement (generates
emotion) and perceptual persuasiveness (the extent to which the film creates a compelling
visual illusion of realism). In her discussion of the components of realism, Hall (2003)
recognises that the first three, plausibility, typicality and factuality, are in-line with the way
many researchers in the area have conceptualised and operationalised realism in their
research (Huston et al., 1995; Pouliot and Cowen, 2007; Wright et al., 1994). Often
researchers will manipulate realism by telling participants they are (or are not) watching
something that actually happened. Yet the remaining components, (narrative consistency,
involvement, perceptual persuasiveness) have received very little attention within the
literature. And it is these components that are most in-line with an online experience of
realism (apparent reality) rather than an assessment of possible realism (relative realism).
Thus the research literature that directly deals with apparent reality and emotion
towards fiction is scant. This point is also made by Konijn, Walma Van der Molen and van
Nes (2009) who have conducted one of the few empirical studies in the area. Specifically,
Konijn et al. (2009) tested the hypothesis that induced-emotions from movie scenes would
increase viewers’ perceptions of realism in a fake documentary. While they report no
significant effect of inducing emotion on perceived realism, they report that those who were
more emotionally involved while watching the target film judged it more realistic. Visch et al.
(2010) report significantly higher levels of self-reported emotion from participants who
viewed animated movie clips in a more immersive and realistic virtual reality CAVE than a
3D projection. Thus there is empirical evidence to support the prediction that increasing the
apparent reality of a film will be associated with increased emotional arousal in the viewer.
The cited studies have each used self-report measures, whereas several researchers
have called for more objective measures of ‘behavioural realism’ and argued that perhaps
physiological measures of emotional arousal might produce different results (Baños et al.,
2004; Freeman et al., 2000; Meehan et al., 2005). They argue that when observers experience
a mediated environment which induces a feeling of greater apparent reality, they will
demonstrate responses (psychological and physiological) similar to those evoked by the
corresponding real environment. For this reason research can triangulate the data from self-
report measures with those from behavioural measures, such as physiological measures of
autonomic arousal.
Emotional arousal has been widely operationalised by measuring the activity of the
sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and, in particular, electrodermal activity (EDA) (Ravaja,
2004). When someone becomes emotionally aroused their skin becomes more conductive due
to increased eccrine sweat gland secretions. Thus, skin conductance serves as a measure of
the SNS activity that has been associated with increased emotional arousal (Dawson et al.,
2005). SNS activation also increases cardiovascular activity and so researchers commonly
use heart-rate (HR) as an additional measure of emotional arousal. However, interpretation of
HR is perhaps not as straight forward as that of EDA because it is also subject to the
influence of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). While SNS activation of the
cardiovascular system has been associated with emotional arousal, PSNS activity has been
associated with various attentional and emotion regulatory processes which decrease
cardiovascular activity (Porges, 1995; Thayer and Lane, 2000). Thus a measure of HR
represents the effect of the relative contributions of an excitatory system (SNS) and an
inhibitory system (PSNS) (Papillo and Shapiro, 1990; Ravaja, 2004).
According to P. Lang et al. (1997), when participants are presented with emotional
stimuli, the PSNS is usually dominant and so HR reduces. There is a substantial body of
research that demonstrates that this HR deceleration is associated with an increase in
attention (Lacey and Lacey, 1970; A. Lang, 1990; Mulder and Mulder, 1981; Turpin, 1986).
This deceleration is brief for pleasant and neutral stimuli (Bradley et al., 1993; P. Lang et al.,
1995), but more extended for aversive stimuli (P. Lang et al., 1997). However, P. Lang et al.
(1997) point out that for certain intense aversive emotions (e.g. with phobic participants) the
SNS dominates the HR influence and an increase is observed (Hamm et al., 1997; Klorman et
al., 1977). Thus the relationship between PNS and SNS activation is not a simple one.
Importantly, it has also been shown that reciprocal and non-reciprocal co-activation or co-
inhibition can occur in both the PSNS and the SNS (Berntson et al., 1994). For this reason,
physiological measures of autonomic arousal cannot be definitively attributed to any single
source and this might lead to difficulties with interpretation of HR data (Ravaja, 2004).
To help go some way towards addressing this problem, researchers can use HR data
in conjunction with EDA. The presence or absence of differences in EDA, might help
determine if differences in HR are indicative of SNS activity (emotional arousal) or PSNS
activity (emotional regulation). For example, Reeves et al. (1999) use measures of HR and
EDA, specifically skin conductance (SC), when comparing groups of female students who
watched emotional moving pictures on different sized screens. They reported a significantly
higher level skin conductance, indicative of emotional arousal, and lower HR towards the
messages displayed on the larger screen than the smaller screens. Given the differences in
SC, they interpreted the lower HR as an index of increased attention.
Contrary to the above, Meehan et al. (2005) conducted four experiments which
investigated participants’ self-reported feelings of apparent reality and their physiological
arousal (heart-rate, skin conductance, skin temperature) in a number of 3D VEs that were
manipulated to be more or less realistic (by including passive haptics, an increased frame-
rate, or a delay in visual correspondence to actions). In reviewing the four experiments, they
found significantly higher levels of both HR and skin conductance when the environment was
more realistic. Thus, they interpreted HR effect as an index of emotional arousal.
Considering these interpretations we might ask why one manipulation, screen size,
might increase attention in viewers and another, apparent reality, might increase emotional
arousal. In user studies of virtual reality researchers exploring the “realness” of the
experience have distinguished between the contributing aspects of the medium and the
psychological processes of the user. Here, Immersion has been defined in terms of the
sensory information the technology provides to the user (Slater, 1999). Thus one could say
that modern cinema experience is becoming more immersive with the introduction of
surround sound, high definition etc. However, this can be distinguished from the illusion of
apparent reality. While there is a large overlap between the techniques of increasing
immersion and increasing apparent reality, these are not necessarily synonymous. There are
ways to increase the apparent reality of a movie experience without increasing how
immersive the technology is (e.g. a plausible story). The converse is also true. While,
arguably, increasing both screen-size and, say, visual frame-rate makes a viewing
environment more immersive, the screen size manipulation does not necessarily improve the
illusion of non-mediated reality. The size of an actor’s face might be more similar to a
realistic size if presented on a smaller screen.
4. The present study
While previous research supports the predicted association between apparent reality
and emotional arousal, it has not directly tested the affect of manipulating the illusion of
apparent reality on emotional arousal. Furthermore, the stimuli used in the previous studies
(virtual environments or animated moving shapes with no narrative element) are perhaps
insufficient for testing the current question. Previous research has yet to empirically explore
the role of apparent reality in the emotional engagement with narrative fictional film. The
present study aims to address this gap in the research.
The current study manipulates the film experience only on the dimension of
stereoscopic depth. Previous research has demonstrated that the experience of watching films
in stereoscopic 3D differs in several ways from 2D film experiences. For example, Pölönen et
al. (2009) reported that participants rated 3D films as more credible, more realistic and more
immersive. Other research has demonstrated that 3D depth increases the feeling of presence
(i.e. naturalness or non-mediation) (Ijsselsteijn et al., 2001; Ijsselsteijn et al., 1998a;
Ijsselsteijn et al., 1998b). Thus by manipulating stereoscopic depth in this way, it becomes
possible to present a visual experience that is either more similar (3D) or dissimilar (2D)
from a viewer’s everyday perception of their physical world. This manipulation also allows
for empirical control of things like sound volume, screen size or acting quality, as these
variables will be held constant. Thus by manipulating the inclusion of stereoscopy, the
current study manipulates the illusion of apparent reality.
In order to attribute any group differences that are observed to the manipulation of
apparent reality, it is also necessary to control for the fact that the 3D group might simply be
more engaged by a novel experience. Even though 3D movies have experienced a revival in
past years, they were probably not yet widespread enough to assume that everyone has
experienced one. It is possible that the 3D group will experience elevated emotion due to
their engagement with a new experience, and so this must be controlled.
It has been demonstrated that the type of emotion elicited can have an impact on the
extent of the arousal and so the emotional content of the stimuli can have varying effects
(Gollnisch and Averill, 1993; Kreibig et al., 2007; Stark et al., 2005). To control this, the
current study limits its focus to aversive stimuli, specifically those that contain an element of
disgust. Disgust was chosen for the following reasons: it is more easily and perhaps more
intensely evoked visually than some other emotions (e.g. anger), it is (like stereoscopy) more
related to physical proximity (Angyal, 1941; Rozin et al., 2008) and it has had a growing
appearance in television and film for all ages (Goldstein, 1998). While, the use of disgust in
the current study may impact on the generalisability of findings, we feel it will allow for a
specific yet fruitful exploration of the current questions.
It should be noted that when using film clips it is almost impossible to control for the
arousal of multiple emotions. This may be especially true with disgusting scenes, as the
distinctions between states of disgust and fear arousal are contentious (Woody and
Teachman, 2000) and research can seldom dissociate the two (Huijding and de Jong, 2007).
Due to the muddy distinction between these emotional states, many film scenes involving
disgust also contain elements of fear inducing stimuli. Researchers can, however, gear the
stimuli towards the likelihood of eliciting a target emotion more strongly or frequently than
other emotions, as is the case for the current study.
4.1 Study aims
The current study investigates the effect of increasing the illusion of apparent reality on
emotional arousal towards movie scenes. Given the considerations and complexities involved
with documenting the experience, the current study uses self-report measures of emotional
arousal in addition to physiological measures of autonomic activity (HR, EDA and skin
4.2 Hypotheses
The current hypotheses are constructed by integrating Tan’s dual awareness model
with the review of operational measures of emotional arousal and the processes by which the
autonomic system has been shown to operate. Immersion acts primarily by redirecting our
attention from the executive space to the entertainment space, which is predicted to increase
our emotional arousal. The same can be said for increasing the apparent reality of an
experience, yet this also has an additional quality. If the experience is more real, rather than
simply more immersive, then the viewer’s ability to regulate their emotional arousal based on
the fictional nature of the experience is reduced. For this reason, we hypothesis that,
compared to the 2D group, the 3D group will demonstrate significantly greater levels of
emotional arousal. Thus the 3D group will demonstrate higher scores on (Ha1) self-reported
feelings of disgust and fear and (Ha2) on physiological measures of autonomic arousal (HR,
EDA and skin temperature).
5. Method
5.1 Design
This study used an independent groups design, with two levels of the independent
variable (2D or 3D). Physiological measures of autonomic arousal (heart-rate, skin
conductance level and skin temperature) and self-reported emotional arousal served as the
dependent variables.
5.2 Participants
Twenty nine participants, from a university campus (13 male, 16 female, age range 21
- 62 years, mean age = 27.38 years, Sd = 7.44 years) volunteered for this study. These were
randomly assigned (while maintaining gender balance) to either the 2D or 3D group. Due to
technical failure all physiological data were lost for one participant and HR data were lost for
5.3 Stimuli
Four commercially available fictional movies were selected using specific criteria: the
movie needed to be in 3D, containing scenes of disgust and involving real-life actors in live-
action scenes set in familiar surroundings of the present day. Four movies were selected (see
Table 1). Various scenes which contained instances of ‘disgust’ and seemed to contain
emotional value were selected from each movie by the researchers. The choice of these
enactments was guided by six domains of disgust outlined by Rozin et al. (1999). These
domains involve issues of food, animals, body products, death, injury/deformity, and moral
offence. Scenes of a sexual nature were not included for ethical reasons. In light of the earlier
stated contentious distinction between disgust and fear, some of the chosen scenes containing
elements of disgust also contained dimensions of fear or general tension. Once the scenes in
the current study were selected, along with some additional scenes for contextual purposes,
they were combined and prepared in 2D/3D format.
<<Insert Table 1 – see end of manuscript for table 1>>
It was necessary to identify the periods of interest for analysis (high emotional
arousal) rather than scenes that served merely to set the scene or progress the story. To this
end, 19 people (5 females and 4 males watched in 2D; 5 males and 5 females watched in 3D)
rated the stimulus clips, identifying the most “emotionally arousing” parts, to avoid problems
associated with the contentious distinction between disgust and fear (Woody and Teachman,
2000).Using these ratings, 8 periods of high-emotion were identified, ranging from 13 - 101
seconds (See Table 1 details of these clips). Consequently, these aspects of the movie clips
were identified for their emotional value rather than specifically rating the level of disgust
they elicit. Yet, as stated earlier, the stimuli were almost entirely geared towards eliciting
5.4 Measures
5.4.1 Physiological measures of emotional arousal.
Physiological data were collected using a Dell computer and a BioSemi Active Two
measurement system. The analog physiology signals were digitized and amplified with a
Mark II ActiveTwo A/D box. Once the data were collected, BESA, an accompanying
biofeedback software application, coordinated the sampling and storage of the physiology
data. HR was recorded by using two Ag/AgCl (0.5 cm2) flat-type active electrodes (placed on
the participant’s torso and chest) as an electrocardiogram. Electrodermal activity (EDA) was
operationalised as the participants’ Tonic Skin Conductance Level (SCL). This SCL was
recorded by attaching an Ag/AgCl (0.5 cm2) flat-type passive electrode on two fingers
(palmar surface) of the participant's hand (or in some cases, the thenar and hypothenar
eminences of the participant’s hand). In all cases, a polymer electrolyte (SignaGel) was used
as an electrode medium. Skin conductance in micro-Siemens (μS) using a current 1uA
(16Hz) was sampled 512 times per second. Skin temperature was measured by placing a high
precision (Agilent 21078A) temperature sensor on the participant’s neck. Skin temperature
was also sampled at 512 times per second.
5.4.2. Self-reported emotional arousal.
Self-reported disgust and fear experienced during the movie were measured using two
short scales designed specifically for this study. For the Disgust Arousal Scale (DAS)
participants were asked to indicate, on a 5-point scale (1-5), their level of agreement with 4
statements about how much the movie disgusted them (e.g. “I was revolted by the movie
content”, “I felt aversion towards the content of the movie clips”), 3 (reverse scored)
statements of the opposite (e.g. charmed) and 2 statements of the magnitude of the arousal
(e.g. intense). An analysis of internal consistency demonstrated adequate levels of reliability
for this measure in the current sample (α = .77).
Similarly, for the Fear Arousal Scale (FAS) participants were asked to indicate, on a 5
point scale (1-5), their level of agreement with 3 statements about how much the movie
frightened them (e.g. fear, aversive), 1 (reverse scored) statement of the opposite (e.g. bored)
and the same 2 statements of the magnitude of the arousal (e.g. intense). This measure
demonstrated an adequate level of internal consistency with the current sample (α = .80).
5.4.3. Perceived apparent reality.
In order to confirm that the manipulation of stereoscopy served as a manipulation of
apparent reality, participants’ perceptions of apparent reality were operationalised through the
ecological validity subscale from The ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory (ITC-SOPI) (Lessiter
et al., 2001). This self-report measure indicates the level to which a viewer perceives the
mediated environment as lifelike and real. The ecological validity subscale of the ITC-SOPI
(hereafter referred to as perceived apparent reality) consists of 5 items that focus on feelings
of perceived naturalness or apparent reality during the media experience. Participants are
asked to indicate their level of agreement with each item on a five-point Likert scale (1-5).
This subscale demonstrated acceptable levels of internal reliability in the original samples
(α=.76) and the current sample (α= .72).
5.4.4. Engagement.
As a further exploratory measure, the current study uses the subscale of engagement
from The ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory (ITC-SOPI) (Lessiter et al., 2001). This subscale
comprises eight items (five-point Likert scale; 1-5) that focus on feelings of engagement
during the media experience and five items that deal with feelings after the media experience.
This subscale also demonstrated acceptable levels of internal consistency with the original
samples (α=.89) and the current sample (α = .68).
5.4.5. Enjoyment.
While the subscale of Engagement offers a measure of participants’ psychological
activation toward the film experience, it includes numerous items that are neutral, such as
“…my experience was intense” and items that are positive “…I enjoyed myself”. By
removing the neutral items from this scale, selecting only the positive items, a subscale of
enjoyment was constructed. This subscale comprises two items (five-point Likert scale; 1-5)
that focus on positive feelings during the media experience and two items that deal with
feelings after the media experience. An analysis of internal consistency demonstrated
adequate levels of reliability for this new measure in the current sample (α = .86).
5.4.6. Disgust sensitivity.
To eliminate the possibility that any differences in emotional arousal would be due to
differences in disgust sensitivity, participants’ disgust sensitivity was measured using The
Disgust Scale-R (DS-R) (Haidt et al., 1994; Olatunji et al., 2007). The DS-R requires
participants to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale (1-5) their level of agreement or their self-
reported feelings of disgust towards 25 items from the seven domains of disgust, including
food, animals, body products, death, injury/deformity, sex and moral offence. Higher total
scores indicate greater disgust sensitivity. An internal consistency analysis for the modified
version yielded an acceptable level of reliability in the original sample (α=.87) and the
current sample (α= .83).
5.5. Controlling novelty
The current study controlled for the potentially confounding novelty of the 3D movie
in two ways. Firstly, groups of participants viewed an abridged version of the commercially
available 3D movie Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Brevig, 2008) at least 24 hours before
data collection. This session offered an additional opportunity to confirm that the
stereoscopic illusion was successful for all participants. It allowed participants to meet the
researcher, ask questions, see the room and generally served to reduce anxieties about the
Secondly, during the data collection session before participants viewed the emotional
test stimuli, they viewed a three minute neutral introductory clip in the appropriate style for
each group (either 2D or 3D). This included a narrator’s introductory statements, some music
and some colourful images of the jungle. This allowed the participant’s physiological arousal
for this period to serve as a measure of activation: the physiological arousal that occurs from
simply watching any 3D/2D movie. If it is true that the novelty of the 3D experience
increases arousal, then we would observe greater activation for the 3D group compared to the
2D group.
5.6 Ethics
All participants were informed that while it was not possible to tell them exactly what
they will see (so as to avoid a biased sample of horror-movie fans), they may find the content
of the scenes unappealing and that some clips involve violence and injury. This study was
approved by the institution’s Human Research Ethics Committee.
5.7 Procedure
All of the testing for the current study took place in a mini-3D-cinema on the
university campus. The room was equipped with a 5.1 Axiom surround sound system, black-
out blinds and the polarised-3D projector equipment. The stimuli were run using stereoscopic
player on a Dell computer, which allowed the manipulation of the 2D or 3D format,
independent of the sound or other picture settings. The stimuli were projected onto a Stewart
front-silver non-depolarizing screen that measured approximately 2.5m2 using 2 evo2sx+
projectors. All 3D stimuli were viewed using polarised type 3D glasses to preserve the
stimulus colour.
In the data collection session, participants were tested individually, seated in a
comfortable chair. All stimuli subtended a visual angle of ~ 40degs in width and ~ 40degs in
height, at a viewing distance of approximately 3 meters from the centre of the screen.
Participants were fitted with the electrodes of the polygraph machine. Once participants were
fitted with the electrodes they were asked to sit still and relax, while the lights were down.
Next, participants in the 3D group put on their polarised glasses and the movie began. After
the activation period, participants watched the disgust scenes for approximately 25 minutes.
Groups of clips that came from the same source film were presented together (to provide
some context) in a fixed order and these groups of clips were separated by a black screen and
silence (5 seconds). When the movie had finished, participants immediately completed the
questionnaires in an electronic format on a Dell laptop.
6. Results
To calculate participants’ physiological activation, the number of heart-beats observed
in each participant was recorded for the activation period and for a 3-second comparative
period before this (pre-activation).These were then converted to a measure of beats-per-
minute (BPM) for the pre-activation and the activation period. For the test phase, the number
of heart-beats observed in each participant was recorded for each of the 8 periods of high-
emotion, and converted into BPM. In-line with (Hubert and de Jong-Meyer, 1990), for each
of the physiological measures (BPM, tonic SCL and skin temperature) an average score was
created from responses during the 8 periods of high-emotion. Finally, a baseline score was
subtracted from each of these to produce physiological change-scores for heart-rate, skin-
conductance level and skin temperature. A three-second period immediately before the first
high-emotion clip served as the baseline measure. Means or total scores were calculated for
perceived apparent reality, engagement, enjoyment, the DS-R, the DAS and the FAS.
Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests of normality were conducted on all the dependent variables and
parametric analyses were deemed appropriate for all. The alpha level was set to 0.05 for all
tests. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all dependent variables (means and standard
deviations are presented in Table 2).
Before testing the hypotheses, it was necessary to confirm that the manipulation was
successful. To test this, an independent t-test was conducted to compare the group scores on
the measure of perceived apparent reality (see Table 2 for means and effect sizes). Results
showed that the 3D group reported significantly higher levels of perceived apparent reality
than the 2D group, t (27) = -1.72; p < .05, d = -.64. According to Cohen’s (1992)
conventional criteria for interpreting effect size, this falls in the medium to large effect size
range. Thus participants in the 3D group rated their experience as more perceptually natural
or realistic than the 2D group i.e. closer to a non-mediated experience. Thus the manipulation
was successful.
<<Insert Table 2 – see end of manuscript for table 2>>
Next it was necessary to explore the possibility that the groups, while randomly
assigned, did not differ in terms of any potential confounding variables. Here, a series of
independent t-tests confirmed that the groups did not significantly differ in terms of their age,
the amount of TV they watch per week or their previous experience with 3D media (see
Table 2). In addition, there were no significant group differences in participants’ sensitivity to
disgust. Therefore disgust sensitivity can be ruled out as a confounding variable and
independent t-tests were sufficient to test the hypotheses.
6.1 Hypothesis testing
Hypothesis one predicted that compared to the 2D group, the 3D group would
demonstrate significantly greater levels of self-reported feelings disgust and fear.
Independent t-tests revealed no significant group differences in self-reported level of disgust
or fear (see Table 2). Thus participants in the 3D group did not report experiencing any more
feelings of disgust or fear than their 2D counterparts. An independent t-test also identified no
significant group differences in self-reported enjoyment of the experience (see Table 2).
Next we tested hypotheses two, which predicted a higher level of emotion in the 3D
group than the 2D group when operationalised by the physiological measures of autonomic
arousal. Independent t-tests revealed no significant group differences in participants’ tonic
skin conductance level or their skin temperature. However, a significant group difference was
observed for the HR data. The 3D group showed significantly higher HR than the 2D while
watching the films, t (25) = -2.28; p < .05, d = -.88. Once again, this falls within the medium
to large effect size range (Cohen, 1992). We note that the 2D group demonstrated a negative
mean HR change score. This indicates that the HR of participants in the 2D group was higher
at baseline than during the high emotion periods of the film clips, while the participants in the
3D group showed a significant increase in HR from baseline.
Having observed significant differences in the groups’ HR, it was necessary to control
for the possibility that 3D movies may bring about group differences in HR simply because
they are more novel. To test this hypothesis a 2 (group) by 2 (time: pre-activation and
activation) mixed-measures ANOVA (repeated on the second factor) was conducted using
participants’ HR data. No significant interaction was observed between group and time, F (1,
25) = .028; p > .05, ηp2=.001. This means that any changes that might have occurred in
participants’ HR from baseline to activation occurred independently of the group to which
they were assigned. However, the same was observed for any changes that might have
occurred from activation to test phase, F (1, 25) = 1.97; p > .05, ηp2=.073. This identifies the
possibility that activation scores might play a role in the observed differences in HR. For this
reason, group differences were reinvestigated using ANCOVA with HR activation scores as a
potential covariate. This test did not identify activation as a significant covariate, and the
same significant group differences in HR were evident when activation was controlled, F (1,
24) = 4.96; p < .05, ηp2=.171, demonstrating that the higher HR for the 3D group is present,
even when the variance that is associated with simply watching a 3D movie is removed. An
independent t-test further supported this finding by demonstrating that there were no
significant group differences in participant’s reported engagement with the experience (see
Table 2).
7. Discussion
The current study asks whether increased perceptual reality in film is associated with
higher levels of emotional arousal. The effect of stereoscopic depth on both self-report and
physiological measures of emotional arousal was explored, while controlling for participants’
emotional sensitivity and the novelty of the experience.
We tested first to determine whether the manipulation of the visual realness of the
experience was successful. The current study identified group differences with the
participants in the 3D group reporting their experience to be more perceptually realistic or
natural. This suggests that participants in the 3D group were less aware that they were
viewing their experience through a medium, that is, on a screen.
Was this increased perceived apparent reality associated with greater emotion towards
the films? While there were no group differences in the participants’ skin conductance or
temperature, the 3D group presented a significantly higher heart-rate than the 2D group.
More specifically, the 3D group presented an increase in heart-rate when compared to the
baseline, whereas the 2D group experienced a decrease in their heart-rate.
So how can we explain the increased HR with the 3D group? Bradley et al. (2001)
propose a two factor model of emotion, involving arousal and valence. They propose that
measures of SC track arousal (activation), while HR is thought to track valence (direction of
activation). Using this model, we might interpret the current results as indicative of
differences in valence but not arousal. In other words, it is possible that 2D and 3D were
experienced as equally arousing (no SC effect), whereas the HR acceleration may indicate a
positive valence of 3D compared to 2D presentation. Thus both groups experienced the same
level of activation but the 3D condition was experienced as more positive. Perhaps the 3D
condition outperformed the 2D version for its paradoxically entertaining horror content.
However, it is important to note that the current study reported no group differences in self-
reported enjoyment of the experience.
However, a further interpretation is also possible. As mentioned earlier, SCL is solely
controlled by the SNS, whereas there is a dual contribution of the SNS and PSNS on HR
function (Ravaja, 2004). P. Lang et al. (1997) point out that a deceleration in heart-rate when
presented with emotional stimuli occurs due to a dominant PSNS influence. They also point
out that under certain conditions, the SNS can become more dominant. The current study
showed no group differences in skin conductance, which acts as an index of SNS activity,
thus the observed group differences in heart-rate are likely to stem from differences in PSNS
activity rather than SNS activity. As PSNS activation has been associated with emotion
regulation and attentional processes (Porges, 1995; Thayer and Friedman, 2000; Thayer and
Lane, 2000) we might propose that the increased HR of the 3D group represents a lower
PSNS activation compared to the 2D group. In other words, the 3D group showed lower HR
regulation than the 2D group.
PSNS activity has been associated with cognitive activity such as attention and
emotional regulation, and Tan (2008) proposes that attention plays a crucial role in emotion
regulation. He proposes that a viewer regulates his/her emotion by attending to the fictional
aspects of the experience and this is supported by empirical research (Speisman et al., 1964).
In addition, Tan proposes that if an experience is more realistic, the viewer becomes less
motivated to attend to the executive space. These ideas are also in-line with Visch et al.
(2010) who conclude that increasing the immersiveness of a mediated experience might be
related to a decreased ability to regulate emotion.
With these ideas in mind, one might interpret the above results as follows. Both
groups may have been susceptible to an equal level of SNS activity and emotional arousal,
demonstrated by their similar SCL. But participants in the 3D group were less able (or less
inclined) to employ such techniques of emotional regulation due to their reduced attention to
the mediated nature of the experience (i.e. higher perceived apparent reality). Thus the 3D
group experienced more apparent reality and so cognitive regulation was reduced. The
reduced emotional regulation would be associated with decreased PSNS activity and
accordingly produce a higher HR in the 3D group when compared to the 2D group. However,
the current study, it must be emphasised, did not control for participants’ techniques of
emotional regulation.
It might seem intuitive that the 3D experience reduced participants’ awareness of the
medium (screen) which, in turn, increased the apparent reality of their experience, and
subsequently inhibited the regulation of their feelings of disgust or fear. It would, however,
be inappropriate to assume causation from the identified association between perceived
apparent reality and emotional regulation. Alternatively, it is possible that the sense of depth
affected participants’ autonomic arousal, and it was these feelings that disposed the 3D group
to rate their experience as more similar to a non-mediated experience.
There is evidence to support this idea. Neurological research has pointed towards a
system for unconscious processing of spatial information, before conscious recognition
occurs (Goodale and Humphrey, 1998; Goodale and Milner, 1992; Köhler and Moscovitch,
1997). In addition, research supports the idea that neurophysiological responses to emotional
stimuli occur prior to cognitive awareness (Whalen et al., 1998). This is complemented by
behavioural evidence that supports cognitive appraisal and component process theories of
emotion. These state that we feel physiological arousal prior to the emotional labels that we
assign to those experiences (Schachter and Singer, 1962; Scherer, 2009). Further evidence
suggests that these emotions then influence processing, appraisals or beliefs about an
experience (Forgas, 1995, 1999; Prentice and Gerrig, 1999). It is possible that participants in
the 3D condition physiologically responded to the feelings of space, depth and movement
rather than a more cognitive evaluation of how realistic the experience was. This
interpretation might also be in-line with Grodal’s (2009) PECMA model that proposes that
films activate a neurological “embodied simulation”.
The idea that our physiological responses play a role in our subsequent appraisal of
the experience is in-line with Konijn et al.’s (2009) interpretation of their findings. They
report that participants who feel stronger emotional responses while watching a film, in turn
evaluate their experience as more realistic or natural. We suggest that this might be due to a
combination of increased perceptual ‘realness’ (stereoscopic depth) and decreased emotional
regulation. This suggestion is also in-line with Tan’s (2008) dual awareness model which
proposes that the associated emotions and the feelings of being drawn in to a film are
mutually sustaining.
7.1 Limitations and future directions
The current study is exploratory and limited in focus. It investigated the connection
between a film’s stereoscopic depth and emotional arousal. By using stimuli that were chosen
to elicit disgust (and fear) the generalisability of findings may be restricted. Especially, given
the previously reported interaction between the type (and intensity) of emotion elicited by a
stimulus and the corresponding autonomic arousal (Bradley et al., 1993; Hamm et al., 1997;
Klorman et al., 1977; P. Lang et al., 1997; P. Lang et al., 1995). Yet, even with such
restrictions this study offers an encouraging step towards further questions and answers.
The current interpretation is that increased realism is not directly associated with
emotional arousal but instead it is associated with a reduced ability to regulate such emotional
arousal. If this is so, then we would still expect the end result, the overall emotional
experience, to be greater for those with reduced emotional regulation. Perhaps surprising is
the fact that the current study observed no group differences in self-reported negative
emotion (disgust or fear). While this may be attributed to the modest sample size of the
current study and its reduced power to detect differences, it is also possible that this reflects
the problems with self-report measures to which previous research has referred (Baños et al.,
2004; Freeman et al., 2000; Meehan et al., 2005). For example, participants were asked to
rate how disgusted they were by the film clips, on a scale from 1 to 5. Using the between
groups design, there is ambiguity around the participants’ frame of reference for those
ratings. In addition, participants are asked only to consider the questions after viewing, so
they are reporting from their memory of the experience. For these reasons, real-time
physiological measures of autonomic arousal might be more reliable.
The current study presents evidence that adding dimensions to a film’s apparent
reality can increase emotional arousal, but it did not provide evidence that the 3D experience
was more enjoyable. This finding is supported by Takatalo et al. (2011) who reported that
adding stereoscopy to a digital video game did not improve the user’s reported experience.
Previous theory and research makes emotional arousal a central function of film
entertainment (de Wied et al., 1994; Izod, 2000; Tan, 2008; Zillmann and Vorderer, 2000)
suggesting that a good film is one that prompts strong emotional arousal. However, there is
evidence that films involving disgust and violence are less enjoyable when they are framed as
non-fiction and so the viewer believes they are watching something disgusting that really
happened (McCauley, 1998). Therefore, increasing the film’s apparent reality might only be
enjoyable for certain types of films.
Future research would benefit by further exploring how the increased apparent reality
and its relationship with emotional arousal might interact with the viewers’ enjoyment of the
experience. It is also advised that researchers use mixed measures to operationalise emotions
or feelings of apparent reality and researchers incorporate some level of control over the
emotion regulation techniques that participants might employ.
8. Conclusion
The current study set out to explore how the use of stereoscopic depth (increasing the
illusion of non-mediated reality) in emotional movie scenes affects participants’ emotional
arousal, specifically disgust and fear. Watching films in 3D produces significantly higher
levels of perceived naturalness and an increased heart-rate in viewers. These differences
cannot be attributed to group differences in emotional sensitivity, engagement, or to the
novelty of the 3D effect. Thus we propose that suspension of disbelief is further assisted by
stereoscopic depth, with associated increases in reported perceived apparent reality and in
heart-rate, as an index of emotional regulation.
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Table 1. List of empirically short-listed stimulus clips in order of presentation with source film
No. Source Duration Brief Description
1 Slee & Streather (2003).
Bugs 3D
32 sec Narrative story applied to documentary style footage of a
praying mantis attacking a fly and eating its head.
2 Miner & Mancuso (1982).
Friday the 13th 3
68 sec After eating fish food, Harold realises it is made from fly
eggs, he continues to eat other foods noisily while holding a
pet rabbit.
3 Miner & Mancuso (1982).
Friday the 13th 3
45 sec Harold drinks whiskey, while using the toilet (accompanied
by sounds). He searches for the source of a noise. Murderer
appears and kills him with a hatchet to the chest.
4 Miner & Mancuso (1982).
Friday the 13th 3
42 sec Edna searches the garage to find Harold. She reveals a rat
which walks towards the viewer. She becomes startled and
the murderer appears and stabs her in the neck.
5 Miner & Mancuso (1982).
Friday the 13th 3
13 sec Blood drips down from above Debbie who is on a hammock.
She looks up to see her boyfriend’s mutilated body in the
rafters. She screams and is stabbed up through her back
and chest from under the hammock.
6 Miner & Mancuso (1982).
Friday the 13th 3
101 sec Chris, being chased by the murderer hides in a room and
locks the door. She discovers Debbie’s body and screams.
The murderer finds her and they fight. The murderer gets
stabbed in the hand and the knee allowing Chris to get
7 Alves, & Hitzig (1983).
Jaws 3-D
24 sec Michael tries to convince Kay not to look at the body of her
colleague, Shelby, who has been killed by a shark. She
uncovers the body anyway and we see his partly
decomposed and mutilated body covered in seaweed and
8 Morrissey & Warhol (1974).
30 sec We see Frankenstein’s assistant, Otto, chase the Baroness
through a dungeon. He catches her and appears to rip open
her stomach. She falls to the ground and we see her organs
hang towards us.
Table 2. Means (M), Standard Deviations (SD), t-tests and Effect sizes for dependent variables by Group
M (SD) Effect Size
Dependent Variable 2D 3D t (df) Cohen’s
Physiological Change Scores
Heart-rate (BPM)*-3.17 (9.23) 4.79 (8.87) -2.28 (25)*-.88 .16
SCL (μS) .25 (.70) .07 (1.4) .44 (26) .16 .007
Skin Temperature (oC) .15 (.11) .11 (.09) 1.01 (26) .38 .04
Self-report measures
Disgust (DAS) 3.47 (.69) 3.44 (.53) .10 (27) .04 .0004
Fear (FAS) 3.89 (.73) 3.88 (.66) .03 (27) .01 .00003
Enjoyment 2.98 (.93) 3.09 (.90) .76 (27) -.01 .0036
Manipulation and Control
Perceive Apparent Reality*2.56 (.70) 3.01 (.72) -1.72 (27)*-.66 .10
Disgust Sensitivity (DS-R) 51.53 (12.73) 45.64 (13.1) 1.23 (27) .47 .05
Engagement 3.48 (.45) 3.43 (.44) .32 (27) .12 .004
Age (years) 26.33 (4.12) 28.5 (9.92) -.78 (27) -.29 .02
TV viewing (hrs per week) 10.07 (4.38) 9.07 (7.5) .44 (27) .16 .007
3D experience 1.33 (.49) 1.29 (.47) .27 (27) .08 .002
*Group differences are significant at p< 0.05
Note: Possible DS-R scores range from 0 to 100. DAS, FAS, Perceive Apparent Reality, Enjoyment and
Engagement mean scores range from 1 to 5. 3D experience means scores range from 0-2. In all cases higher
scores are indicative of higher levels of the construct.
... We also focused on four physiological states of blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), skin resistance level (SRL), and body temperature (BT). While physiological reactions have proven their influential role while observing film contents (Rooney et al., 2012), there is a lack of significant research to identify a robust relationship between physiology and normalized space quality perception through film mediation. Hence, we hypothesized that changes in assessing the quality of a space could be meaningfully associated with physiological states in the presence of an environmental stimulus. ...
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Objectives: Human perception of the built environment affects emotional and physiological states. This research focused on the association between evaluating a space's visual qualities and physiological responses by mediating film contents to indicate the association between physiological indicators and assessing the quality of space in the presence of environmental stimuli. Method: Data collection was conducted using a psychological questionnaire and physiological indicators of heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), skin resistance level (SRL), and body temperature (BT) during the film screening. The ANOVA was conducted to compare different variables in the three films alongside linear regression to analyze the impact of variables on space quality. Spearman correlation coefficient analyses were performed to find the association between variables. Results: The descriptive statistics showed significant changes in psychological and physiological variables in films. Associations between the NAQ factor and physiological changes in HR, SBP, and DBP factors were significant. The results derived from the simple and multiple linear regressions depicted the significant impact of physiological factors on HR and BP on perceiving the quality of space. Conclusion: It was concluded that physiological changes caused by emotional arousal could be strongly associated with psychological assessments. Stimuli-affected video contents illustrating architectural spaces could efficiently extract the impact of physiological states and human cognitive responses to the space quality. Physiological characteristics related to the space appraisal could help realize the human-environment interaction in a multi-layered approach to the built environment and spatial cognition.
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A variety of methods for audio quality evaluation are available ranging from classic psychoacoustic methods like alternative forced-choice tests to more recent approaches such as quality taxonomies and plausibility. This chapter introduces methods that are deemed to be relevant for audio evaluation in virtual and augmented reality. It details in how far these methods can directly be used for testing in virtual reality or have to be adapted with respect to specific aspects. In addition, it highlights new areas, for example, quality of experience and presence that arise from audiovisual interactions and the mediation of virtual reality. After briefly introducing 3D audio reproduction approaches for virtual reality, the quality that these approaches can achieve is discussed along with the aspects that influence the quality. The concluding section elaborates on current challenges and hot topics in the field of audio quality evaluation and audio reproduction for virtual reality. To bridge the gap between theory and practice useful resources, software and hardware for 3D audio production and research are pointed out.
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This chapter examines user experience design for collaborative music making in shared virtual environments (SVEs). Whilst SVEs have been extensively researched for many application domains including education, entertainment, work and training, there is limited research on the creative aspects. This results in many unanswered design questions such as how to design the user experience without being detrimental to the creative output, and how to design spatial configurations to support both individual creativity and collaboration. Here, we explore multi-modal approaches to supporting creativity in collaborative music making in SVEs. We outline an SVE, LeMo, which allows two people to create music collaboratively. We then present two studies; the first explores how free-form visual 3D annotations instead of spoken communication can support collaborative composition processes and human–human interaction. Five classes of use of annotation were identified in the study, three of which are particularly relevant to the future design of sonic interactions in virtual environments. The second study used a modified version of LeMo to test the support for a creative collaboration of two different spatial audio settings, which according to the results, changed participants’ behaviour and affected their collaboration. Finally, design implications for the auditory design of SVEs focusing on supporting creative collaboration are given.
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The development of Virtual Reality (VR) systems and multimodal simulations presents possibilities in spatial-music mixing, be it in virtual spaces, for ensembles and orchestral compositions or for surround sound in film and music. Traditionally, user interfaces for mixing music have employed the channel-strip metaphor for controlling volume, panning and other audio effects that are aspects that also have grown into the culture of mixing music spatially. Simulated rooms and two-dimensional panning systems are simply implemented on computer screens to facilitate the placement of sound sources within space. In this chapter, we present design aspects for mixing in VR, investigating already existing virtual music mixing products and creating a framework from which a virtual spatial-music mixing tool can be implemented. Finally, the tool will be tested against a similar computer version to examine whether or not the sensory benefits and palpable spatial proportions of a VE can improve the process of mixing 3D sound.
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As the next generation of active video games (AVG) and virtual reality (VR) systems enter people’s lives, designers may wrongly aim for an experience decoupled from bodies. However, both AVG and VR clearly afford opportunities to bring experiences, technologies, and users’ physical and experiential bodies together, and to study and teach these open-ended relationships of enaction and meaning-making in the framework of embodied interaction. Without such a framework, an aesthetic pleasure, lasting satisfaction, and enjoyment would be impossible to achieve in designing sonic interactions in virtual environments (SIVE). In this chapter, we introduce this framework and focus on design exemplars that come from a soma design ideation workshop and balance rehabilitation. Within the field of physiotherapy, developing new conceptual interventions, with a more patient-centered approach, is still scarce but has huge potential for overcoming some of the challenges facing health care. We indicate how the tactics such as making space, subtle guidance, defamiliarization, and intimate correspondence have informed the exemplars, both in the workshop and also in our ongoing physiotherapy case. Implications for these tactics and design strategies for our design, as well as for general practitioners of SIVE are outlined.
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The relationships between the listener, physical world, and virtual environment (VE) should not only inspire the design of natural multimodal interfaces but should be discovered to make sense of the mediating action of VR technologies. This chapter aims to transform an archipelago of studies related to sonic interactions in virtual environments (SIVE) into a research field equipped with a first theoretical framework with an inclusive vision of the challenges to come: the egocentric perspective of the auditory digital twin. In a VE with immersive audio technologies implemented, the role of VR simulations must be enacted by a participatory exploration of sense-making in a network of human and non-human agents, called actors. The guardian of such locus of agency is the auditory digital twin that fosters intra-actions between humans and technology, dynamically and fluidly redefining all those configurations that are crucial for an immersive and coherent experience. The idea of entanglement theory is here mainly declined in an egocentric spatial perspective related to emerging knowledge of the listener’s perceptual capabilities. This is an actively transformative relation with the digital twin potentials to create movement, transparency, and provocative activities in VEs. The chapter contains an original theoretical perspective complemented by several bibliographical references and links to the other book chapters that have contributed significantly to the proposal presented here.
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Real-time auralization is essential in virtual reality (VR), gaming, and architecture to enable an immersive audio-visual experience. The audio rendering must be congruent with visual feedback and respond with minimal delay to interactive events and user motion. The wave nature of sound poses critical challenges for plausible and immersive rendering and leads to enormous computational costs. These costs have only increased as virtual scenes have progressed away from enclosures toward complex, city-scale scenes that mix indoor and outdoor areas. However, hard real-time constraints must be obeyed while supporting numerous dynamic sound sources, frequently within a tightly limited computational budget. In this chapter, we provide a general overview of VR auralization systems and approaches that allow them to meet such stringent requirements. We focus on the mathematical foundation, perceptual considerations, and application-specific design requirements of practical systems today, and the future challenges that remain.
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Sonic experiences are usually considered as the result of auditory feedback alone. From a psychological standpoint, however, this is true only when a listener is kept isolated from concurrent stimuli targeting the other senses. Such stimuli, in fact, may either interfere with the sonic experience if they distract the listener, or conversely enhance it if they convey sensations coherent with what is being heard. This chapter is concerned with haptic augmentations having effects on auditory perception, for example how different vibrotactile cues provided by an electronic musical instrument may affect its perceived sound quality or the playing experience. Results from different experiments are reviewed showing that the auditory and somatosensory channels together can produce constructive effects resulting in measurable perceptual enhancement. That may affect sonic dimensions ranging from basic auditory parameters, such as the perceived intensity of frequency components, up to more complex perceptions which contribute to forming our ecology of everyday or musical sounds.
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This chapter addresses the first building block of sonic interactions in virtual environments, i.e., the modeling and synthesis of sound sources. Our main focus is on procedural approaches, which strive to gain recognition in commercial applications and in the overall sound design workflow, firmly grounded in the use of samples and event-based logics. Special emphasis is placed on physics-based sound synthesis methods and their potential for improved interactivity. The chapter starts with a discussion of the categories, functions, and affordances of sounds that we listen to and interact with in real and virtual environments. We then address perceptual and cognitive aspects, with the aim of emphasizing the relevance of sound source modeling with respect to the senses of presence and embodiment of a user in a virtual environment. Next, procedural approaches are presented and compared to sample-based approaches, in terms of models, methods, and computational costs. Finally, we analyze the state of the art in current uses of these approaches for Virtual Reality applications.
This book provides analysis of how human biology, as well as human culture, determines the ways films are made and experienced. This new approach is called "bioculturalism." The book shows how important formats, such as films for children, romantic films, pornography, fantasy films, horror films, and sad melodramas, appeal to an array of different emotions that have been ingrained in the human embodied brain by the evolutionary process. The book also discusses how these biological dispositions are molded by culture. It explains why certain themes and emotions fascinate viewers all over the globe at all times, and how different cultures invest their own values and tastes in the universal themes.The book further uses the breakthroughs of modern brain science to explain central features of film aesthetics and to construct a general model of aesthetic experience, the PECMA flow model, which explains how the flow of information and emotions in the embodied brain provides a series of aesthetic experiences. The combination of film theory, cognitive psychology, neurology, and evolutionary theory provides explanations for why narrative forms are appealing and how and why art films use different mental mechanisms than those that support mainstream narrative films, as well as how film evokes images of inner, spiritual life and feelings of realism. Embodied Visions provides a new synthesis in film and media studies and aesthetics that combines cultural history with the long history of the evolution of our embodied brains.
The related emotions of disgust and fear are examined in their full range from normal to pathological. We propose that disgust plays a functional role in some anxiety disorders, specific phobias in particular. Basic research in disgust and fear is reviewed, and these emotions are contrasted in terms of their functional value, behavioral intentions, physiological processes, and acquisition mechanisms. Cognitive appraisals of danger and contamination are discussed as a mechanism for the role of disgust in some anxiety disorders. Finally, we evaluate competing explanations regarding the relationship between disgust and fear in these contexts, finding value in the concepts of imprecise emotional labeling and a synergistic model of a bidirectional association between disgust and fear. Implications for treatment are discussed.
Conference Paper
Within the area of broadcasting and entertainment, stereoscopic displays are used to heighten the viewer's sense of excitement and quality. To evaluate these subjective experiences, an appreciation-oriented approach seems to be appropriate. Within this framework, this paper reports on two experiments in which we investigated the influence of image disparity, convergence distance and focus length on the subjective assessment of depth, naturalness, quality and eye-strain. Twelve observers with normal or corrected-to-normal vision and good stereopsis viewed a fully randomized presentation of stereoscopic still images that varied systematically in image disparity, convergence distance and focus length. In the first experiment observers were asked to rate, in separate counterbalanced sessions, their impression of depth, naturalness of depth and quality of depth. In the second experiment observers were asked to rate the eye-strain they experienced on a five point rating scale. Results indicate that observers prefer a stereoscopic presentation of images over a monoscopic presentation. A clear optimum for quality and naturalness judgments was found at 4 cm image disparity, which was also rated by observers as the stereoscopic condition that produced the least eye-strain. Extreme image disparities were found to be annoying, producing low quality and naturalness ratings accordingly. Although there was a strong linear relationship between naturalness and quality (a correlation of r equals 0.96), a small but systematic shift could be observed. This quality-naturalness shift is discussed in relation to similar, yet more pronounced findings in the color domain.
It is argued that emotions are lawful phenomena and thus can be described in terms of a set of laws of emotion. These laws result from the operation of emotion mechanisms that are accessible to intentional control to only a limited extent. The law of situational meaning, the law of concern, the law of reality, the laws of change, habituation and comparative feeling, and the law of hedonic asymmetry are proposed to describe emotion elicitation; the law of conservation of emotional momentum formulates emotion persistence; the law of closure expresses the modularity of emotion; and the laws of care for consequence, of lightest load, and of greatest gain pertain to emotion regulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Since at least 1898, a problem concerning the time an object would take to travel along an Earth diameter (or a chord) has been appearing in general physics and mechanics books. However, it is always assumed that the density of the Earth is constant and it is not rotating. Using an actual geophysical model of the Earth's interior and a simple spreadsheet formulation, a more reasonable figure of 38 minutes (one way) is determined, compared to 42 minutes for the homogeneous Earth.