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2017 - 4S Annual Meeting Words: 241 words || 
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1. Messeri, Lisa. and Welch, Lauren. "Virtual Sensing: Perceptual Illusions in the Age of Virtual Reality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 4S Annual Meeting, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston MA, <Not Available>. 2020-02-24 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1272034_index.html>
Publication Type: Paper Abstract
Abstract: Virtual Reality (VR) has long been used in psychological research. Even before the current VR consumer boom, scientists have experimented with the technology’s potential as a research tool, therapeutic device, and training apparatus. This paper draws on ethnographic research with a perceptual psychology lab that has for several decades incorporated VR into its research practices. Most recently, this lab has sought to replicate classic perceptual illusions in VR. If our sight deceives us in the real world, will it do so in the virtual world as well? For the psychologists doing this research, they are entering a debate in the field about how we perceive the world and whether it is exclusively physiological or also influenced by our cognition. If an illusion can be replicated in VR – where the senses are under complete experimental control – something beyond these senses must be influencing perception. VR, then, becomes not simply a platform for research, but a tool to test perception itself. The concept of “illusion” will guide this paper, analyzing laboratory talks about the classic and VR iterations of these experiments and how in both cases researchers discuss “illusions” as a way of destabilizing “reality.” As perceptual psychologists test theories of how we sense the world, VR is both the ultimate experimental test bed but also part of the unresolved debate over the relationship between our selves, our environment, and our ability to distinguish what is real from what is not.

2018 - ICA's 68th Annual Conference Words: 154 words || 
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2. Sutko, Daniel. "Virtually Empathetic: The Shortcomings of Virtual Reality as a Platform for Positive Communication" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ICA's 68th Annual Conference, Hilton Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, <Not Available>. 2020-02-24 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1361287_index.html>
Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: Empathy is essential to positive communication. Futurists envision virtual reality as a possible medium for delivering empathetic experiences. This paper interrogates Silicon Valley's dream to repackage virtual reality as an empathy machine. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated his vision for VR as a platform to create empathetic experiences. The disjuncture of Zuckerberg's smiley cartoonish avatar roaming ruined homes and human suffering was roundly panned in popular and technical press alike. This research critically analyzes how empathy is mobilized in discourses of virtual reality. This paper brings together phenomenological theories of interpersonal and mediated communication, historians of communication and presence, the capabilities turn in design, and poststructural epistemology to question whether VR--as an essentially solipsistic medium--can ever provide an empathetic experience that requires one not only to see the world through another's eyes but to be seen by the world as they are.
Keywords: virtual reality, communication technology, positive communication, mediation, intersubjectivity

2018 - ICA's 68th Annual Conference Words: 140 words || 
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3. Won, Andrea. "Virtually Social: Understanding Social Interactions in Virtual Reality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ICA's 68th Annual Conference, Hilton Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, <Not Available>. 2020-02-24 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1364208_index.html>
Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: Virtual reality alters our perceptions of ourselves and our surroundings. It does this by replacing sensory information with mediated content, and updating this content as we move around and interact with the virtual environment. This allows us to have experiences that feel real, even though we are aware that they are simulated. It also allows us to have social experiences with other users, who are also represented in the shared, collaborative virtual environment. In this presentation, I will discuss how we can compare the effects of virtual reality in social contexts to those that occur when using other media. I’ll also discuss how social interactions in virtual environments may lead to better mutual understanding in such social and collaborative experiences, but may also potentially distort how we think of ourselves, the real environment, and the people we share it with.

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