University of Twente Student Theses


Time travelling in virtual reality : can virtual embodiment instil a future oriented mindset?

Doms, B. (2020) Time travelling in virtual reality : can virtual embodiment instil a future oriented mindset?

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Abstract:Background: Virtual reality offers a novel way for inducing body ownership illusions via embodiment of an avatar. Numerous studies have shown people who embody an avatar to change their behaviour in accordance with behaviour that is associated with this avatar. This Proteus effect offers new possibilities for psychological interventions. Objective: A lack of future-self continuity has shown to be an important predictor for maladaptive behaviours. We investigate the effect of virtual embodiment of the future-self, combined with an interview about the past, on future-self continuity. Further, we aim to get more insight into the Proteus effect by examining the role of embodiment in this effect. Method: 61 male participants aged 18 to 30 (M = 22.36, SD = 2.72) embodied an avatar of either their present self or future-self while being interviewed about their past. After the interview they filled in a questionnaire. Results: Future-self embodiment did not improve future-self connectedness and similarity, nor did it improve vividness of the future self. Proteus effect was not predicted by embodiment or presence in VR, but engagement and condition were predictive. Proteus effect was not associated with connectedness and similarity, and negatively associated with vividness. Conclusion: No evidence was found for improvement of future-self continuity by making participants embody their future-self via an avatar. Participants did show a difference from their regular thinking between conditions, possibly because of the interview. The negative association between Proteus effect and vividness might imply that instead of amplifying, combining avatar embodiment with an interview attenuates future-self vividness.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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