Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Jooyoung Kim, & Jaemin Kim (Grady PhD student) (in press). The future of advertising in virtual, augmented, and extended realities. International Journal of Advertising.
Abstract: The ever-changing media environment brought on by the constant advent of new technologies requires advertising scholars to stay nimble, updating and innovating research theories and methodologies. In this essay, we note how the International Journal of Advertising has contributed to our understanding of immersive technologies and propose research areas to further advance our knowledge of ‘how advertising works’ in immersive spaces. Through the discussion of the four focal research areas, including naturally mapped interactivity, context-on-demand in advertising, user experiences with immersive advertising, and the emerging media landscape associated with the metaverse, we call on advertising scholars to consider the next steps forward to enhance our knowledge through transdisciplinary team-science efforts and collaboratively pursue the syntheses of theories, methods, and knowledge.
Eric Novotny (Grady postdoctoral research associate), Joomi Lee (Grady postdoctoral research associate) & Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (in press). “Virtual reality as human machine communication.” In A. Guzman, R. McEwen, & S. Jones (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Human-Machine Communication. SAGE.
Abstract: The rapid pace of advancement in virtual and augmented technology is continuously expanding the boundaries of human communication, which were previously limited to other humans but now extend to virtual agents and VR devices themselves. Focusing on the dynamic interactions between users and immersive technologies, this chapter presents theoretical orientations and practical applications that situate the VR scholarship within the HMC subfield. We outlined psychologically relevant concepts that emerge during interactions in VR, focusing on self-perceptions, perceptions of other humans and agents, and experiences with virtual environments and VR devices. Specifically, we discussed self-presence, spatial presence, social presence, and embodiment, and remarked on the impact of these phenomena on human-machine communication outcomes. The psychological concepts should be empirically tested with new developments in VR technology, such as enhanced haptic feedback and conversational agent realism, for scholars to understand how these novel features impact human users. As the individual and social applications of VR proliferate, so must the scholarship on the communication exchanges between human users and the virtual devices, agents, and environments, to provide a corresponding understanding of their effects on users.
Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Kristine Nowak & Jeremy Bailenson (2022). “Unintended consequences of spatial presence on learning in virtual reality.” Computers & Education, doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2022.104532
Abstract: Research on virtual reality (VR) in education and training has found that spatial presence, the perception that the body is inside a mediated environment, increases engagement. However, experiencing spatial presence requires the allocation of limited processing resources, potentially inhibiting the processing of other information. Guided by the frameworks of Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing (LC4MP), and the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, two experiments examined the effects of different modalities on spatial presence to test the prediction that spatial presence negatively impacts recall. Study 1 (N = 100) found that VR elicited higher spatial presence than video, but that high spatial presence reduced recall. Individual differences (technology apprehension) moderated spatial presence. Study 2 (N = 260) found that pre-existing interest in the learning content and aversive responses elicited by the learning content increased spatial presence. However, segmenting the VR content to reduce processing load for participants had little effect on spatial presence or information recall. In sum, modality features and individual differences drove user experiences of spatial presence, which negatively impacted recall, but segmentation of VR content had no effect on learning outcomes.
Jihoon Kim (Grady PhD alum), Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, and Jooyoung Kim. “Virtual Reality Experience in Tourism Advertising: Roles of Immersion and Advertising Engagement.” Presented at the American Academy of Advertising (AAA) Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, March 24 – 27, 2022
Abstract: Building favorable destination image and evoking positive feelings toward tourism ads are essential to the success of destination marketing in the competitive tourism business environment. The current study investigated the potential of virtual reality (VR) in providing new and innovative avenues for promoting destination image in tourism and testing its impact on advertising engagement that follows the VR experience. Despite the increased use of VR in destination advertising and its advantages over traditional media platforms, its effectiveness and the underlying mechanisms driving advertising engagement remain underexplored. Guided by the proposed conceptual model of immersive virtual tours, the current study investigated the roles of self-location and ad engagement along with several key variables (i.e., enjoyment, destination image change, attitude toward the ad and the brand) using a lab experiment (N = 78). Results indicate that experiencing a VR tour of a destination had a positive impact on ad engagement and that enjoyment of the immersive experience mediated the relationship between self-location and engagement with an ad shown after the virtual experience. The level of immersion moderated the effect of VR experience on ad engagement. Theoretical and managerial implications of VR tourism are discussed
Abstract: Building favorable destination image and evoking positive feelings toward tourism ads are essential to the success of destination marketing in the competitive tourism business environment. The current study investigated the potential of virtual reality (VR) in providing new and innovative avenues for promoting destination image in tourism and testing its impact on advertising engagement that follows the VR experience. Despite the increased use of VR in destination advertising and its advantages over traditional media platforms, its effectiveness and the underlying mechanisms driving advertising engagement remain underexplored. Guided by the proposed conceptual model of immersive virtual tours, the current study investigated the roles of self-location and ad engagement along with several key variables (i.e., enjoyment, destination image change, attitude toward the ad and the brand) using a lab experiment (N = 78). Results indicate that experiencing a VR tour of a destination had a positive impact on ad engagement and that enjoyment of the immersive experience mediated the relationship between self-location and engagement with an ad shown after the virtual experience. The level of immersion moderated the effect of VR experience on ad engagement. Theoretical and managerial implications of VR tourism are discussed.
Abstract: Only one-third of adults 18 to 49 years old in the United States receive a recommended annual influenza vaccination. This study examined whether supplementing vaccine information statements (VIS) with an immersive virtual reality (VR), short video or electronic pamphlet story designed to convey the community immunity benefits of influenza vaccination would improve influenza vaccine avoidant participants’ influenza-related perceptions as well as their influenza vaccination-related beliefs, confidence and intentions. Method: A one-way between-subjects experimental design compared the effects of adding a supplemental education experience prior to VIS exposure with flu vaccine avoidant 18-to-49-year-olds. The 171 participants recruited from the community were randomly assigned to one of three modality treatment conditions [VR, video, or e-pamphlet (i.e., story board presented via electronic tablet)] or a VIS-only control condition. Results: Compared to the modalities, the VR intervention created a stronger perception of presence (i.e., feeling of “being there” in the story), which, in turn, increased participants’ concern about transmitting influenza to others and raised vaccination intention. Increased concern about transmitting influenza to others was associated with positive effects on influenza vaccination-related beliefs, including confidence that one’s flu vaccination would protect others. Neither the e-pamphlet nor the video intervention were able to elicit a sense of presence nor were they able to improve the impact of the VIS on the outcome measures. Conclusions: Immersive VR has much potential to increase understanding of key immunization concepts, such as community immunity, through creative executions that increase a sense of presence. Given the need to increase influenza vaccination uptake among 18-to-49-year-olds, and the projected growth in VR accessibility and use, additional applications and assessments related to vaccination communication and education are needed and warranted. By increasing the ability to convey key vaccine and immunization concepts, immersive VR could help address vaccination hesitancy and acceptance challenges.
Poster presented at the World Congress of Pain of the International Association for the Study of Pain, September 12-16, Boston, MA.
Abstract: Embodied experiences in virtual reality (VR) involves the reproduction of sufficiently realistic sensory information so that users are able to see, hear, and feel experiences as if they are going through them at the moment. A growing body of literature evinces that the effects of these virtual experiences carry over into the physical world to impact attitudes and behaviors in the physical world. Underlying mechanisms of embodied experiences that produce these outcomes are discussed in the context of media affordances, or interactions between novel attributes of VR and user perceptions of them. Design implications to maximize persuasive effects are examined and illustrated with case studies. Finally, the limitations of embodied experiences are considered using the efficiency framework to determine tasks that are most appropriate for applying embodied experiences in VR.
Abstract: Although previous research has shown that individuals take on aspects of the avatars they embody in virtual environments, studies have not yet tested whether this phenomenon, known as the Proteus Effect, extends to traits that are undesirable to have, such as narcissism. One hundred thirty-three female participants completed a shopping simulation in virtual reality. In this simulation, half embodied an avatar of Kim Kardashian, a celebrity known for her narcissistic behavior and materialistic purchases, while the other half embodied a generic female avatar of similar appearance. Participants then chose between luxury and non-luxury brands for a variety of objects. Results indicated thatparticipants did not take on the luxury purchase behaviors of Kim Kardashian, and in fact showed lower narcissism scores after embodying her than those embodying a generic avatar. These results suggest a self-serving component to the Proteus Effect, in that individuals may only take on desired aspects of the avatars they embody, and distance themselves from undesired aspects.