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Unraveling the persuasive power of 360º-video Virtual Reality narratives

Project description

Unwinding and understanding the potential of new VR technologies

The 360º-video virtual reality (VR) stories have great potential to raise awareness and comprehension for broadly ungraspable issues. However, we lack empirical evidence about their potential persuasive effects and a theoretical framework about how these might impact people. The EU-funded PersVR project will investigate if and how immersive journalism and documentary focusing on 360º-video VR might affect people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. PersVR will employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines mainly social psychology, communication sciences and psychophysiology to test a theoretical model about how narrative and immersive attributes of 360º-video VR lead to persuasive outcomes. Moreover, the project aims at establishing an innovative methodological toolkit for understanding the social impact of new VR technologies.

Objective

Raising awareness and comprehension of global problems such as climate change or refugee movements provides a communicational challenge, as these problems often stay abstract and distant to people. With the advent of virtual reality (VR), academics and journalists alike put their hope in 360º-video VR stories as a potentially revolutionary tool to create scenarios that make these problems more graspable, thus raising concern and instigating attitude-change. However, to date, empirical insight into potential persuasive effects of 360º-video VR stories is almost absent, and theoretical conceptualizations of how they might impact people are lacking. PersVR is going to change this. The aim of PersVR is to overcome these shortcomings, and to demonstrate if and how immersive journalism and documentary focusing on 360º-video VR might affect people’s beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.
The project adopts a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates knowledge from different fields (including social psychology, communication sciences, and psychophysiology) into a theoretical model that describes how narrative and immersive attributes of 360º-video VR lead to persuasive outcomes. The empirical testing of the model will utilize an innovative combination of self-report, psychophysiological, and behavioral methods to comprehensively illuminate the psychological mechanisms involved. The complex set of methods deployed will permit to determine optimal methodological standards that promise to guide future related studies. The current rise of “immersive journalism” and VR storytelling accentuate the high relevance, timeliness, and expected impact of the project. The innovative approach of the project and the envisioned collaboration with the host will provide the applicant with a unique research profile and significantly advance his striving for an independent career at world-leading research centers dedicated to illuminate the social impact of new VR technologies.

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Coordinator

STICHTING VU
Net EU contribution
€ 175 572,48
Address
De boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

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Region
West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00