University of Twente Student Theses


Understanding the Influence of Awe in Virtual Reality on Social Well-being

Keller, C. (2024) Understanding the Influence of Awe in Virtual Reality on Social Well-being.

[img] PDF
Abstract:Awe is a self-transcendent emotion, which was found to have a strong transformative impact on social cognition and behaviour (e.g. increased prosocial behaviour and social connectedness (Piff et al., 2015; Rudd et al., 2012; Nelson Coffey et al. 2019, Yaden et al. 2019). Because both factors were found to be related to increased social well-being (Helliwell et al. 2017; Iqbal, 2022; Sulaiman; 2007), this study aims to explore how a single induction of awe in variant virtual environments impacts the individual dimensions and the general level of social well-being. The effects were tested in three experimental conditions. The conditions were “Humanmade structures”, “Space” and “Nature”. Each condition was an immersive virtual environment (VE) that participants explored using Virtual Reality (VR) glasses. It was hypothesized that the overall level of awe and social well-being should increase after exposure to the virtual stimulus in each condition. The following dimensions of social well-being where thought to be affected by the VEs of this study: Social actualization was thought to increase in the condition “Humanmade structures” which was a 3d model of London, social integration in the condition “Space” which granted participants a look at the earth from space and social coherence in the condition “Nature” which was 3d model of the Mount Everest. A significant effect on awe was only found in the “Humanmade structures” and “Space” conditions. No significant effect on general social well-being levels was found in any condition. Social integration was the only dimension that significantly increased after the experiment in the conditions: “Humanmade structures” and “Space”. The findings of this study strengthen the claim that social integration is positively affected by awe and that it can be increased through a single VR experience. Through experimentation with further factors (e.g., social cues or different environments), effects on social well-being and its dimensions should be further tested.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page