Keywords: Virtual reality, VR, neuroscience, experimental psychology, cognitive science
Humans are more than their brains and almost constantly interact with complex, dynamic environments.
However, designing experiments involves trading experimental complexity for experimental control. Unrealistic lab conditions are also necessary for some measurement devices, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which requires subjects to lie in a dark, cold, loud room, forbidden to move their heads, let alone to – realistically – interact with their environment. Hence, research in the brain and mind sciences often uses simplified stimuli in relatively passive experimental situations.
Integrating mobile brain imaging (MBI), such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), with virtual reality (VR) technology may offer a solution to this problem. Such a VR-MBI combination allows the measurement of natural behavior and neurophysiological variables in complex environments while still maintaining experimental control.
This also allows the clinical usage of VR, which we pursue in the VReha project.