Opinion piece by Nikolaus Troje discusses how virtual reality is a game changer for vision science
Biology Professor Nikolaus Troje has authored an opinion piece in the journal Perception titled “Reality Check,” which discusses how virtual reality is a game changer for vision science.
For most of the history of vision science, the discipline used printed media, projected film, or computer screens to deliver visual stimulation. Virtual reality adds active motion parallax. In his article, Troje argues that virtual reality provides the user with a well-defined and well-behaving location in the experienced visual space, and that this critical difference causes our visual system to switch to an entirely different processing mode. While picture mode, as he calls it, might be a recent invention that only applies to the specifically human way of symbolic image processing, presence mode reflects the state in which the visual system processes visual space in the real world, as well as in virtual reality. For the first time, virtual reality provides vision science with a tool to study our visual system in presence mode while providing the same level of principled control over the details of the stimulus that we previously had only for stimulation of the visual brain in picture mode.
“I hope that the concepts and terminology I am introducing here will help others to test the hypothesis I putting forward in this opinion piece: What we learn from vision research conducted with printed media or computer screens may not generalize to vision in the real world because the visual system might not operate in the same mode that it uses most of the time in the real world. Virtual reality technology helps us to test this hypothesis and to conduct better and more relevant vision research,” explains Troje.
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