Does the same 360° video displayed with an HMD lead to more intense emotions than displayed on a desktop computer screen? This is what I am currently investigating with my research project within the scope of my master thesis: The Power of Emotions in Tourism Marketing – Triggered by VR.
When we visited ITB in March 2016, we had the chance to speak to a lot of tourism practitioners who already offered some virtual experiences. It was noticeable that almost all of them held the same opinion – VR provides the possibility to trigger emotions of the viewers more intensively. One had to agree, people who tried out VR goggles looked fascinated by the virtual impressions they got. However, subconscious processes have a big impact on us. As they are subconscious, different methods have to be applied for investigation. This is how the interest for the topic of my master thesis was elicited.
Currently, I am conducting the experiments for the empirical part of the thesis. For that purpose I compare two groups: one group sees the 360° video on a stereoscopic screen with a Samsung Gear VR, the other group sees the same video on a monoscopic computer screen. During the viewing, physiological parameters (heart rate and skin conductance) of study participants are measured. The heart rate is measured with a breast strap and to detect skin conductance, finger straps for electrodes are used and a Grove GSR Sensor records the data. After the experiment, participants are asked to fill in a questionnaire, as the subjective experience is also taken into consideration. Furthermore, it will be investigated if physiological reactions influence the decision making of prospective travelers.
Here you can see a participant viewing the video with the HMD and a short glance on how the raw data I get looks like. The experiments are still ongoing until the beginning of October and then all the data needs to be evaluated. To analyze the power of emotions in VR for tourism marketing, the data of the two groups will be compared with each other. I will keep you updated.