DOI: 10.1101/459339Nov 1, 2018Paper

Studying Human Behaviour with Virtual Reality: The Unity Experiment Framework

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jack BrookesMark Mon-Williams


Virtual Reality systems offer a powerful tool for human behaviour research. The ability to create three-dimensional visual scenes and measure responses to the visual stimuli enables the behavioural researcher to test hypotheses in a manner and scale that were previously unfeasible. For example, a researcher wanting to understand interceptive timing behaviour might wish to violate Newtonian mechanics, so objects move in novel 3D trajectories. The same researcher may wish to collect such data with hundreds of participants outside the laboratory (e.g. in a museum), and the use of a VR headset makes this a realistic proposition. The difficulty facing the researcher is that sophisticated 3D graphics engines (such as Unity) have been created for game designers rather than behavioural scientists. In order to overcome this barrier, we have created a set of tools and programming syntaxes that allow logical encoding of the common experimental features required by the behavioural scientist. The Unity Experimental Framework (UXF) allows the researcher to readily implement several forms of data collection, and provides researchers with the ability to easily modify independent variables. UXF does not offer any stimulus presentation features,...Continue Reading

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