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ERIC Number: ED517239
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 136
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-1391-6
The Effect of Desktop Illumination Realism on a User's Sense of Presence in a Virtual Learning Environment
Ehrlich, Justin
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
The application of virtual reality is becoming ever more important as technology reaches new heights allowing virtual environments (VE) complete with global illumination. One successful application of virtual environments is educational interventions meant to treat individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). VEs are effective with these individuals because the environment induces them to use pretense to successfully navigate the virtual world, without the social fear of failing in the real world. This improves the user's theory of mind (ToM), and this ability to conceptualize others is particularly lacking in individuals with ASD and is detrimental to the development of social skills. A greater feeling of presence in the virtual environment enhances pretense and the development of ToM because the experience seems more like the real world to the user. Therefore, this study targeted presence as a prime candidate to improve a virtual environment since it increases the ability of the VE to induce pretense, which allows the user to improve his/her ToM. In the field of computer science visual realism, new research has surfaced linking illumination realism to presence. Since this research was limited to Neurologically Typical (NT) individuals (those without ASD), and because generalization is particularly important to individuals with ASD, the study targeted these individuals. Further, since head mounted displays (HMD) are impractical for widespread delivery of a VE intervention application and since there is a lack of research about VEs without HMDs, the study used standard desktop displays, called pseudo virtual environment (PVE). One of the main goals of this dissertation was to measure the extent to which visual realism can induce the presence of a VE intervention, enumerate the specific characteristics of rendering that promote the sense of presence and the ability to generalize, and statistically verify enhanced outcomes from using these techniques. After conducting the study with 24 individuals with ASD utilizing a quantitative questionnaire, illumination realism was found to have a positive effect on the presence felt by these individuals. This work contributes to the field of visualization and special education by providing empirical evidence supporting the claim that illumination realism increases the presence felt by users with ASD when interacting with a PVE. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A