Measuring Cognitive Conflict in Virtual Reality with Feedback-Related Negativity

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As virtual reality (VR) emerges as a mainstream platform, designers have started to experiment new interaction techniques to enhance the user experience. This is a challenging task because designers not only strive to provide designs with good performance but also carefully ensure not to disrupt users' immersive experience. There is a dire need for a new evaluation tool that extends beyond traditional quantitative measurements to assist designers in the design process. We propose an EEG-based experiment framework that evaluates interaction techniques in VR by measuring intentionally elicited cognitive conflict. Through the analysis of the feedback-related negativity (FRN) as well as other quantitative measurements, this framework allows designers to evaluate the effect of the variables of interest. We studied the framework by applying it to the fundamental task of 3D object selection using direct 3D input, i.e. tracked hand in VR. The cognitive conflict is intentionally elicited by manipulating the selection radius of the target object. Our first behavior experiment validated the framework in line with the findings of conflict-induced behavior adjustments like those reported in other classical psychology experiment paradigms. Our second EEG-based experiment examines the effect of the appearance of virtual hands. We found that the amplitude of FRN correlates with the level of realism of the virtual hands, which concurs with the Uncanny Valley theory.
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