Sense of Time while Perceiving Periodic Visual Stimuli by Peripheral Vision in Virtual Reality
Authors: Ryota Ino, Yohsuke Yoshioka
Abstract: Humans have a sense of time; however, this sense is subjective. We have all experienced that periods of boredom feel longer, and periods spent in pleasant activities feel shorter. The relationship between humans’ sense of time and visual stimuli has been studied in many research fields, including psychology and informatics. In the field of informatics, there have been attempts to use the relationship between the sense of time and visual stimuli for practical purposes. Studies using visual stimuli on a computer monitor have had some degree of positive results. This research attempts to apply this pertinent knowledge obtained in informatics to architectural spaces and examine whether the presentation of periodic visual stimuli to peripheral vision can act as a spatial element that changes one’s sense of time. This research focuses on the frequency and presentation position of periodic visual stimuli. This research investigates the influence of periodic visual stimuli on the sense of time through two virtual reality experiments. Experiments were conducted in a room of dimensions 4 x 4 x 2.4, created in an immersive virtual environment. The participants were immersed in the virtual environment using a head-mounted display and they remained seated while the experiments were conducted. Light bulbs were set at equal distances of 30 cm on walls of the room in the virtual environment and repeatedly flashed to present periodic visual stimuli to the participants' peripheral vision. The participants evaluated the time in a virtual environment based on a set of conditions. The first experiment examined the frequency of periodic visual stimuli on the participants’ sense of time by setting four frequencies: 0(no stimuli), 30, 60, and 90 times per minute. The participants evaluated time twice at each frequency, and all eight trials were conducted in random order. The first experiment showed that the participants perceived time as significantly longer in the condition wherein the frequency was 90 times per minute as compared to that in conditions wherein the frequencies were 0, 30, 60 times per minute. Thus, the results suggest that a presentation of periodic visual stimuli with a high frequency has the effect of making time feel longer. The second experiment examined the relationship between the presentation position of periodic visual stimuli and the sense of time. The frequency of periodic visual stimuli was set at 90 times per minute, and there were four presentation positions: sidewall, floor-ceiling, sidewall-floor-ceiling, and no stimuli. The participants evaluated time twice at each presentation position, and the order of eight trials was designed in a manner that there was no duplication between the stimuli presented to the participants. The second experiment revealed that the participants perceived time as significantly longer in the condition including the position sidewall-floor-ceiling as compared to that in conditions including the positions sidewall and floor-ceiling. The results suggest that regardless of the presentation position, visual stimuli presented in extensive view make time feel longer. These findings have the potential to create methods to change one’s sense of time in architectural spaces intentionally.
Keywords: Virtual Environment, Peripheral Vision, Time Perception, Subjective Experiment
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