Research:: Awestruck: Natural Interaction with Virtual Reality on Eliciting Awe

D.Quesnel & B.E.Riecke, 2017

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it” reflected Apollo mission astronaut Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut that had the transformative experience of seeing Earth from space and upon his return home, became a global spokesperson for humanity and the environment. This very shift is an example of the ‘Overview Effect’ (OE), a profound awe-inspiring direct perceptual experience of seeing Earth from space resulting in a cognitive shift in worldview. I am working as part of a global team on unpacking the OE, and discovering how we can elict emotions associated with the OE inside an immersive virtual relaity environment (instead of blasting people into space!)

The first of many eperiments was taken November 2016, and where I designed a mixed-methods experiment with the help of my colleagues at SFU iSpace Lab where I measured the levels of introspective and physiological awe in participants while they explored Earth in Google Earth VR with a HTC Vive.

Results indicated that indeed, participants were awed by the content and medium, and if you’d like to read the preliminary results please download the two page abstract for a poster I am presenting at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (as part of IEEE VR) in March.

Click the PDF icon to the right to download the 2-page abstract by Quesnel, D., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Awestruck: Natural Interaction with Virtual Reality on Eliciting Awe. Presented at the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 3DUI.