Virtual Reality

Keywords: Virtual reality, VR, neuroscience, experimental psychology, cognitive science

We measure mind-brain-body interactions in virtual environments.

Humans are more than their brains and almost constantly interact with complex, dynamic environments.

However, as designing experiments involves trading experimental complexity for experimental control, research in the brain and mind sciences often uses simplified stimuli in relatively passive experimental situations. Virtual Reality (VR) technology allows naturalistic (i.e., dynamic, interactive, complex) stimulation while the participant’s performance is assessed with high spatial and temporal resolution

Our lab has two main foci:

VR for neuroscience

Combining neurophysiological measures such as electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography (ECG), and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) with VR allows to investigate the biology of mental processes and behavior in naturalistic experiments. For example, subjective emotional arousal could be decoded from EEG-derived alpha power during a virtual experience that included rollercoaster rides (Klotzsche et al., 2018; Hofmann et al., 2018). We are also combining VR and peripheral physiological measurements, for example, in the development of the Excite-O-Meter, a Unity plugin to record, analyze, and visualize physiological information.

Medical VR

We develop and evaluate VR-based diagnostic and rehabilitative applications (e.g., Tromp et al., 2019; Krohn et al., 2020): For example, in the VReha project, we aim to examine and treat patients with cognitive impairments. 

Every last Friday of the month, we also host the open, casual VRiday Meetup on all topics at the interface of art, science, and technology.