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The Effect of Visual and Interaction Fidelity on Spatial Cognition in Immersive Virtual Environments
May/June 2006 (vol. 12 no. 3)
pp. 396-404

Abstract—Accuracy of memory performance per se is an imperfect reflection of the cognitive activity (awareness states) that underlies performance in memory tasks. The aim of this research is to investigate the effect of varied visual and interaction fidelity of immersive virtual environments on memory awareness states. A between groups experiment was carried out to explore the effect of rendering quality on location-based recognition memory for objects and associated states of awareness. The experimental space, consisting of two interconnected rooms, was rendered either flat-shaded or using radiosity rendering. The computer graphics simulations were displayed on a stereo head-tracked Head Mounted Display. Participants completed a recognition memory task after exposure to the experimental space and reported one of four states of awareness following object recognition. These reflected the level of visual mental imagery involved during retrieval, the familiarity of the recollection, and also included guesses. Experimental results revealed variations in the distribution of participants' awareness states across conditions while memory performance failed to reveal any. Interestingly, results revealed a higher proportion of recollections associated with mental imagery in the flat-shaded condition. These findings comply with similar effects revealed in two earlier studies summarized here, which demonstrated that the less "naturalistic” interaction interface or interface of low interaction fidelity provoked a higher proportion of recognitions based on visual mental images.

Index Terms:
Three-dimensional graphics and realism, virtual reality, methodology and techniques, interaction techniques.
Katerina Mania, Dave Wooldridge, Matthew Coxon, Andrew Robinson, "The Effect of Visual and Interaction Fidelity on Spatial Cognition in Immersive Virtual Environments," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 396-404, May-June 2006, doi:10.1109/TVCG.2006.55
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