On the validity of virtual reality-based auditory experiments: a case study about ratings of the overall listening experience

It has been a little more than a year that my former colleagues and I published a paper in Springer’s Virtual Reality journal. Unfortunately, the paper is not accessible for free. Fortunately,  Springer allows to publish the submitted manuscript after a 12-month embargo (“self-archiving policy”). Therefore, I decided to publish the paper also on my private website.

The paper is about an experiment in which virtual reality environments are compared to “real-world” environments. For the graphics in the VR environment, we used OGRE as graphics engine and the Oculus Rift (Development Kit – second revision) as output device. A lot of effort was put in the auditory part of the virtual reality environments.

Title: On the validity of virtual reality-based auditory experiments: a case study about ratings of the overall listening experience
Authors: Michael Schoeffler, Jan Lukas Gernert, Maximilian Neumayer, Susanne Westphal and Jürgen Herre
Abstract: In recent years, new developments have led to an increasing number of virtual reality (VR)-based experiments, but little is known about their validity compared to real-world experiments. To this end, an experiment was carried out which compares responses given in a real-world environment to responses given in a VR environment. In the experiment, thirty participants rated the overall listening experience of music excerpts while sitting in a cinema and a listening booth being in a real-world environment and in a VR environment. In addition, the VR system that was used to carry out the sessions in the VR environment is presented in detail. Results indicate that there are only minor statistically significant differences between the two environments when the overall listening experience is rated. Furthermore, in the real-world environment, the ratings given in the listening booth were slightly higher than in the cinema.
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