Exploring Human Responses to a Virtual Character Bump
How does haptic feedback during human-virtual character interaction affect participant physiological responses in virtual reality? In this between-subjects study, haptic feedback and non-haptic feedback conditions in which virtual characters bump into the participant who is immersed in a virtual environment are compared. A questionnaire was developed to determine the influence of haptic feedback on presence, embodiment, positive and negative affect, interaction with virtual characters, and haptic feedback realism, among other more exploratory concepts. These exploratory variables include engagement, flow, comfort with virtual characters, comfort with virtual characters’ appearance, realism of virtual character interaction, realism of haptic feedback, and virtual reality sickness. Physiological data was collected using galvanic skin response (GSR) to investigate the influence of haptic feedback on physiological arousal during human-virtual character interaction. Five conditions were developed (no haptic feedback, full and half intensity, incorrect position, and delayed timing). Significant differences were found in embodiment, realism of virtual character interaction, haptic feedback realism, and GSR amplitude after the first interaction with the virtual character. These results may inform future virtual reality studies that investigate haptic feedback during human-virtual character interaction and/or arousal via GSR data, as well as advise studies that seek to correlate self-report responses with physiological data.