Virtual Reality Nature Experiences Involving Wolves on YouTube: Presence, Emotions, and Attitudes in Immersive and Nonimmersive Settings

Autor(en): Filter, Elfin
Eckes, Alexander
Fiebelkorn, Florian 
Buessing, Alexander Georg
Stichwörter: ACCEPTABILITY; ANIMALS; BEARS; education for sustainable development; emotions; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Environmental Studies; ENVIRONMENTS; FRAMEWORK; Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; immersion; IMPACT; INSTRUCTION; LEARNING OUTCOMES; METAANALYSIS; nature experiences; presence; return of the wolf; Science & Technology - Other Topics; SELF; virtual reality
Erscheinungsdatum: 2020
Herausgeber: MDPI
Volumen: 12
Ausgabe: 9
As some nature experiences, such as viewing wild animals, may be difficult to implement in science education, immersive virtual reality (VR) technologies have become a promising tool in education. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the effectiveness of nature experiences in VR. In this study, 50 German university students (M = 23.76 years, SD = 3.73 years) from diverse disciplines were randomly assigned to an immersive (head-mounted display; Oculus Quest) or a nonimmersive setting (external computer screen; desktop computer) and individually watched two 360 degrees videos from the social media site YouTube about wolves in their natural habitat. Besides measuring participants' attitudes towards wolves, we investigated their feeling of presence in the virtual environments with the Spatial Presence Experience Scale (SPES) and the retrospective emotions of interest, joy, and fear with the Differential Affect Scale (M-DAS). The immersive head-mounted display induced higher levels of presence and interest compared to the nonimmersive external computer screen. While higher interest in the screen setting was associated with more positive attitudes towards wolves, such a correlation could not be found in the head-mounted display setting. Thus, our study found that immersive technology could induce interest in a nature experience related to the tested socio-scientific issue, even among people who did not already hold positive attitudes toward the issue. Overall, our findings suggest that 360 degrees videos using immersive technology provide nature experiences with positive affective learning outcomes, even though the study focused on nature experiences in VR and was not an educational experience per se. As we were unable to assess the role of novelty of VR experiences, the application of VR technologies and its effects in larger teaching and learning settings needs to be evaluated in further studies.
DOI: 10.3390/su12093823

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