The Virtual Reality (VR) method opens up new perspectives in the field of psychological research. VR refers to the representation and perception of reality and its physical properties in a real-time computer-generated, interactive, virtual environment. The aim of this VR method is to create an artificial environment that creates the illusion of actually being real. The user (s) can move and interact with this virtual world. Using a head-mounted display (HMD), the stereoscopic impression of a computer-generated virtual environment is conveyed on an LCD screen directly in front of the subject's eyes. In this virtual world, for example, objects can be touched and changed, or one can interact with virtual people (e.g., avatars). Thus, three-dimensional realistic experiences can be implemented while full experimental control is maintained. At the same time, visual, acoustic, vestibular, tactile and nociceptive sensory information can also be recorded. By using an HMD with tracking sensor, the viewing direction and movement of the viewer within the 3D world can be implemented in real time. For navigation and interaction, additional input devices are used. Unlike traditional experimental settings, the subject acts within the medium and their actions have an immediate effect.
Moreover, in addition to realistic settings, other settings that are highly useful for research but can only exist in VR, such as being in a room full of spiders or meeting a person bearing physical characteristics of their own person, can be realized.
The development of the VR-Laboratory in the Department of Psychology and continuing research is supported by a major grant from the DFG. The laboratory is led by Social Psychology and facilitates collaboration between the research groups from Social Psychology, General Psychology and Methodology, General Psychology: Cognition, Emotion, and Action Regulation, Developmental Psychology, Business Psychology and the Research Institute of Psychobiology: Clinical Psychophysiology).