The Effects of Immersion

Sharon A. Davison

The following experiment will examine the utility of mental models and visualization in training.

Fifty undergraduate students from The Catholic University of America will participate in the experiment. Subjects will be evenly distributed to one of four conditions: Textual, 2-D, 3-D, or Immersion.

All of the subjects will be given a model of a community center to study. The presentation of the community center will vary according to condition assignment. Subjects in the textual condition will be presented with a narrative description of the community center. The narrative will describe each room and its three object contents. The subjects in the 2-D group will be presented with the same descriptions of the rooms within the center and their object contents; however, instead of reading a textual description they will see a two- dimensional representation of the same space presented in a HyperCard stack.

Immersion Study Walkthrough (1.6 Mb)

Subjects in the 3-D condition will see a three-dimensional representation of the same community center as previous conditions; however, the model of the building will be presented in Virtus Walkthrough. The subjects in the Immersion group will be presented with the same Virtus model of the center; however, the difference between the 3-D presentation and the Immersion will involve subjects viewing the model as if they are immersed in the space with the aid of a head mounted display.

All Subjects will be trained in their own environment and then asked to recall which objects belong in which rooms. In addition, subjects will be presented with a different visualization of the center than what they learnt on and asked to recall which object belong in which room. After, correctly recalling which objects belong in which room subjects will be tested on their recall of proximity of the objects in relation to one another.