Virtual reality experiences promote autobiographical retrieval mechanisms: Electrophysiological correlates of laboratory and virtual experiences

Autor(en): Kisker, Joanna
Gruber, Thomas 
Schoene, Benjamin
Stichwörter: ALPHA; ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAM; ENVIRONMENTS; EPISODIC RETRIEVAL; FAMILIARITY; GAMMA; Psychology; Psychology, Experimental; RECOGNITION MEMORY; RECOLLECTION; SYNCHRONIZATION; THETA OSCILLATIONS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Herausgeber: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
Journal: PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH-PSYCHOLOGISCHE FORSCHUNG
Volumen: 85
Ausgabe: 7
Startseite: 2485
Seitenende: 2501
Zusammenfassung: 
Recent advancements in memory research indicate that virtual reality (VR) experiences are more vividly memorized as compared to conventional laboratory events. In contrast to the latter, VR experiences are highly immersive, simulating the multimodality, vividness and inclusiveness of real-life experiences. Therefore, VR might enable researchers to identify memory processes underlying events which participants have actually experienced, in contrast to conventional on-screen experiences. To differentiate the electrophysiological correlates of memory processes underlying VR experiences as compared to conventional laboratory experiences, participants watched videos either in a PC condition or in a VR condition, followed by an unannounced recognition memory test. As hypothesized, we replicated the well-established theta old/new effect for the PC condition, but remarkably, this effect was absent in the VR condition. Additionally, the latter was accompanied by significantly lower alpha activity as compared to the PC condition. As increases in theta-band responses are related to top-down control on, and memory load during retrieval, the observed theta responses might rather relate to retrieval effort than to retrieval success per se. Congruently, higher alpha activity measured over occipital sensor areas in the PC condition reflect visually guided search processes within episodic memory. The VR condition comes in with lower alpha activity, reflecting immediate and effortless memory access. Hence, our findings indicate that the retrieval of VR experiences promotes autobiographical retrieval mechanisms, whereas recalling conventional laboratory events comes in with higher effort, which might not reflect the mechanisms of everyday memory.
ISSN: 03400727
DOI: 10.1007/s00426-020-01417-x

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