Assessing the role of virtual reality as a psychological design tool within current architectural practice

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DC I/O 2020 proceeding by PATRICK HORNE.


Abstract

Virtual environments present architects with a new feedback tool to assess the emotional effects of their designs. This paper examines whether the process of verbally instructing a participant to assess their emotional reaction to a virtual environment conditions their subsequent emotional response. If proved true, this paper will assess whether this conditioning occurs in a correlated pattern among participants that can be quantified and therefore omitted within future applications. By calculating this, we move one step closer to evaluating the true effect of an environment upon a participant’s emotions, validating the data collected through this new form of public consultation proposed for architectural practice.

Two groups of participants were placed within an immersive virtual environment, whilst during the experiment a quantified measure of emotional arousal and binary measure of valence were taken using skin conductance analysis and behavioural analysis accordingly. One group of participants were verbally instructed to assess their emotional response of pleasure to the environment, whilst the control group remained uninstructed. The physiological readings from these two groups were then contrasted to ascertain whether instructed self-assessment conditioned the participants internal response of pleasure. The results of the experiment proved inconclusive and analysis of the data gathered was unable to confirm or refute the tests central hypothesis. Whilst further statistical analysis upon this data-set may prove successful, the experiment was highly instructive in how further work may be carried out to provide more valuable results. Additionally, planning and administering this experiment raised several points of reflection regarding this proposed emotional design methodology that are raised in a subsequent discussion.

Keywords

Virtual Reality, Environmental Psychology, Emotion, Phenomenology

Keyphrases

virtual environment (340), virtual reality (160), environmental psychology (130), emotional response (120), emotional arousal (100), skin conductance (96), design process (90), architectural design (90), architectural practice (90), skin conductance analysis (63), participant skin conductance (63), immersive virtual environment (63), self assessment (50), instructed group (50), control group (50), evidence based design (47), human scale immersive vr system (46), feedback tool (40), built environment (40), visual stimulus (40), baseline measurement (40), architectural design evaluation tool (40), emotional reaction (40), self assess (40), measuring emotion (40), public consultation (40)

Topics

Architecture, Calculation and Design Analysis, Data Visualization and Analysis for design, Design Cognition, Responsive computer-aided design, Simulation, Visual and Spatial Modelling, Visualization & Communication.

Reference

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47330/DCIO.2020.MQSO4855

Video Presentation: https://youtu.be/CVv6KmmKAuc

Full text: Maciel, A. (Ed.), 2020. Design Computation Input/Output 2020, 1st ed. Design Computation, London, UK. ISBN: 978-1-83812-940-8, DOI:10.47330/DCIO.2020.QPRF9890