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Size and shape constancy in consumer virtual reality

Hornsey, R. L., Hibbard, P. B. and Scarfe, P. (2020) Size and shape constancy in consumer virtual reality. Behavior Research Methods, 52 (4). pp. 1587-1598. ISSN 1554-351X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3758/s13428-019-01336-9


With the increase in popularity of consumer virtual reality headsets, for research and other applications, it is important to understand the accuracy of 3D perception in VR. We investigated the perceptual accuracy of near-field virtual distances using a size and shape constancy task, in two commercially available devices. Participants wore either the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift and adjusted the size of a virtual stimulus to match the geometric qualities (size and depth) of a physical stimulus they were able to refer to haptically. The judgments participants made allowed for an indirect measure of their perception of the egocentric, virtual distance to the stimuli. The data show under-constancy and are consistent with research from carefully calibrated psychophysical techniques. There was no difference in the degree of constancy found in the two headsets. We conclude that consumer virtual reality headsets provide a sufficiently high degree of accuracy in distance perception, to allow them to be used confidently in future experimental vision science, and other research applications in psychology.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:90844


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