Fright, attention, and joy while killing zombies in Virtual Reality: A psychophysiological analysis of VR user experience
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To date, research on the user experience of Virtual Reality (VR) games is sparse even though VR and immersive gaming experiences are emerging as a substantial consumer based within the videogame industry. Using facial electromyography and skin conductance response measurement, the current research presents the first psychophysiological evidence to show that: (1) VR games may heighten affective responses such as fear and arousal; (2) different levels of immersion in various gameplay modes may evoke higher affective responses; and (3) these heightened affective responses significantly correlate with users’ experience of enjoyment at the precise onset of the affective response. Due to the second-by-second nature of psychophysiological measurement, the study's findings also pinpoint a specific sequence (i.e., entrapment in a dark room) within the gameplay that significantly evoked nearly 2.5-times higher fear with arousal as well as enjoyment. These findings contribute to the ongoing study of VR in the fields of media psychology, media studies, human-computer interaction studies, and marketing by demonstrating the strong link between immersion, affective responses, and positive user experience toward a horror VR game and their marketing implications.
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