3. Immersive virtual reality in neuroscience

We combine immersive virtual reality (using head-mounted displays) with subjective, behavioral, and physiological measures to study emotional and cognitive phenomena under more naturalistic (i.e., dynamic, interactive) conditions.


In the NeVRo study, we decoded self-reported emotional arousal during an immersive VR experience involving virtual rollercoasters from EEG-derived parieto-occipital alpha power (Hofmann, Klotzsche, Mariola et al., 2020, BioRxiv).

Key publications:
Hofmann, S. M., Klotzsche, F., Mariola, A., Nikulin, V. V., Villringer, A., & Gaebler, M. (2020). Decoding subjective emotional arousal from EEG during an immersive Virtual Reality experience. BioRxiv, 2020.10.24.353722.

Neurocognitively-guided modeling of virtual humans for enhanced realism in immersive media

In the project "Neurocognitively-guided modeling of virtual humans for enhanced realism in immersive media" (NEUROHUM), we psychophysiologically investigate the perception of virtual humans to feed the findings back into their generation. The aim is to enhance the realism of virtual humans and enable more naturalistic neuroscientific experiments using immersive technologies. NEUROHUM is funded by the cooperation between the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (2021-2025).


With the Excite-O-Meter, we developed an open-source, user-friendly Unity plugin for XR creators to integrate physiological user information in the development and evaluation of XR content. It allows to record, analyze and visualize scientifically validated metrics of bodily (at the moment: heart) activity during XR experiences.
The Excite-O-Meter was supported in 2020 by XR4ALL and the European Commission.


Maintaining items in visual short-term memory (vSTM) and the allocation of spatial attention are closely intertwined. We investigate EEG signatures of both using an immersive VR head-mounted display with eye tracking. We thereby contribute to establishing the combination of the devices for cognitive neuroscience and bridge classical lab studies with naturalistic setups.
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