Collaborative Virtual Reality have been the subject of research for nearly three decades now. This has led to a deep understanding of how individuals interact in such environments and some of the factors that impede these interactions. However, despite this knowledge we still do not fully understand how inter-personal interactions in virtual environments are reflected in the physiological domain.
This project seeks to answer the question by monitoring neural activity of participants in collaborative virtual environments. We do this by using a technique known as Hyperscanning, which refers to the simultaneous acquisition of neural activity from two or more people. In this project we use Hyperscanning to determine if individuals interacting in a virtual environment exhibit inter-brain synchrony. The goal of this project is to first study the phenomenon of inter-brain synchrony, and then find means of inducing and expediting it by making changes in the virtual environment.
This project feeds into the overarching goals of the Empathic Computing Laboratory that seek to bring individuals closer using technology as a vehicle to evoke empathy.
Gumilar, I., Sareen, E., Bell, R., Stone, A., Hayati, A., Mao, J., ... & Billinghurst, M. (2021). A comparative study on inter-brain synchrony in real and virtual environments using hyperscanning. Computers & Graphics, 94, 62-75.