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Fidelity metrics for virtual environment simulations based on spatial memory awareness states

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 14:12 authored by Katerina Mania, Tom Troscianko, Rycharde Hawkes, Alan Chalmers
This paper describes a methodology based on human judgments of memory awareness states for assessing the simulation fidelity of a virtual environment (VE) in relation to its real scene counterpart. To demonstrate the distinction between task performance-based approaches and additional human evaluation of cognitive awareness states, a photorealistic VE was created. Resulting scenes displayed on a head-mounted display (HMD) with or without head tracking and desktop monitor were then compared to the real-world task situation they represented, investigating spatial memory after exposure. Participants described how they completed their spatial recollections by selecting one of four choices of awareness states after retrieval in an initial test and a retention test a week after exposure to the environment. These reflected the level of visual mental imagery involved during retrieval, the familiarity of the recollection and also included guesses, even if informed. Experimental results revealed variations in the distribution of participants' awareness states across conditions while, in certain cases, task performance failed to reveal any. Experimental conditions that incorporated head tracking were not associated with visually induced recollections. Generally, simulation of task performance does not necessarily lead to simulation of the awareness states involved when completing a memory task. The general premise of this research focuses on how tasks are achieved, rather than only on what is achieved. The extent to which judgments of human memory recall, memory awareness states, and presence in the physical and VE are similar provides a fidelity metric of the simulation in question.


Publication status

  • Published


Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments




MIT Press





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Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications


Originality: Proposed for the first time and drawing from fundamental memory research, this research shows that simulation of task performance in 3D simulations does not lead to simulation of the spatial memory awareness states involved when completing a memory task. This work is highly interdisciplinary. Rigour: Experiments are conducted formally according to procedures adopted from cognitive psychology. Mixed Analysis of Variance is conducted and statistical significant sought in main effects and 2-way and 3-way interactions. Significance: Achieving high fidelity of training simulations could incorporate the need for similar awareness states or similar mental strategies utilized when tasks are conducted during a real-world task situation and its computer graphics simulation. Impact: This work had been funded entirely by Hewlett Packard Laboratories and its success proved instrumental in obtaining new EPSRC funding with Hewlett Packard Laboratories as a collaborator (grant GR/58386/01). Such work has also spawned an ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration with the Dept. of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol.

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