Factors Influencing User Behavior in Virtual Reality: a Systematic Review

Myle Melody Daniels, Thelma Palaoag and Josephine Dela Cruz

An immersive virtual environment widely known as virtual reality (VR) has grown to have a promising potential as future of digital media. It is so interactive that users are observed to take longer period of time immersed in this environment than heading outdoors. This condition arouses curiosity on its effects on user’s behavioral aspect. This study then investigates factors in VR that influence behavior through a systematic review of previously conducted studies. Papers were selected according to the following inclusion criteria: topic (social behavior, human perception), year published (2009-2019), type of paper (journal article), design (experimental) and participants (humans). Upon the review of 31 studies, two influential factors emerged: sense of presence (SoP) and sense of embodiment (SoE). The SoP in VR makes user believe that it is real, therefore, user adopts their real-world behavior into the virtual environment, and vice-versa. Second, VR allows user to take on another form giving a sense of embodiment. This ability in VR influences behavior in four ways – body ownership illusion, perspective-taking, role-taking and virtual self-representation. These findings show that VR carries strong potentials in contributing to behavioral changes. Therefore, it can be utilized as an alternative platform for psychological and social researches. Its flexibility allows researchers to manipulate the virtual environment and set agent characteristics in accordance to their intended study. Future researches are encouraged to focus on the identified factors such that negative impacts on behavior will be minimized, and if possible, eliminated, while uplifting its impact in cultivating prosocial behavior.

Volume 12 | 01-Special Issue

Pages: 212-219

DOI: 10.5373/JARDCS/V12SP1/20201065