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psychnology Tables of Contents: 010203040506070809101112

Psychnology 6

Editors:Luciano Gamberini; Giuseppe Riva; Anna Spagnolli
Standard No:ISSN 1720-7525
Links:www.psychnology.org | Table of Contents
  1. psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1
  2. psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2
  3. psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3

psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1

Presence. Where do you feel you Are Today?

Presence and Relaxation: A Preliminary Controlled Study BIBAKPHP 7-25
  Daniela Villani; Giuseppe Riva
Technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) that induce presence in a virtual, but still external, perceived world, have great power to evoke emotional experiences that can lead to psychotherapeutically valuable changes in the individual. This reflects the power of presence -- seen as the feeling of being located in a perceived, external world -- in developing and affecting psychological wellbeing.
   Until today Virtual reality Environments (VEs) have been incorporated into a variety of clinical and everyday settings to improve mental health. Nevertheless many areas in the health field can be still explored by using this innovative technology. One example is represented by stress management area, one of the leading mental health problems of western societies linked to several pathologies.
   Following this trend our proposal is to investigate with a non clinical sample the efficacy of a relaxing narrative through a virtual experience. In a controlled study we compared three different media: Immersive VR, DVD and Audio speaker, by using the same therapeutic narrative and protocol. A control group without treatment was also included in the study.
   The sample included 60 university students, randomly divided in four experimental conditions.
   Non parametric test and correlation were used to analyse self-reports and physiological parameters. Within groups analysis -- in both VR and DVD conditions -- showed a significant improvement of the emotional state and significative physiological changes. Furthermore, regression analysis showed that a relationship exists between the sense of presence and the outcome achieved by the mediated experience. However, the absence of significant differences from the analysis between groups suggests that the principal determinant of presence might be the content proposed within the mediated experience.
   Further reflections about sense of presence in relaxing virtual environments will be discussed.
Keywords: Relaxation, Virtual Reality, Presence, Emotions
Practices to Display Social Presence: A Study in a Shared Mediated Environment BIBAKPHP 27-59
  Fabiola Scarpetta
The current study belongs to a series of studies promoted by the EU funded project "PASION", which focuses on augmenting social presence. The underlying assumptions to this series is that participants' interventions in the shared environment represent a way to exhibit their being socially present in that environment. Therefore, the practices organizing these interventions define "when", "why" and "how" social presence become relevant in the group. In the study presented here, participants navigate in a shared, non immersive virtual world, and can contact each other dyadically via instant messaging. Their task as a team consists of finding as many treasures as possible in the virtual world. Chat logs and video recordings of the activity on the screen are collected, and subsequently analyzed with the approach of Conversation Analysis. The results show the way in which social presence is addressed in the chat openings, the occasions in which the intervention of the interlocutor on the chat is made relevant and the format of this intervention. These results are connected to the nature of the activity and of the mediated environment.
Keywords: Social Presence, Conversation Analysis, Mediated Interaction, Video Game, Collaboration
Being Part of the Life of One's Hometown: Strategies to Support Community Connectedness BIBAKPHP 61-82
  Luis A. Castro; Victor M. Gonzalez
Information and Communication Technologies can be instrumental for those who have moved away permanently from their places of origin. This paper presents a condensed analysis of interviews conducted with twenty six (26) Mexican migrants and family members living in Mexico. The interviews addressed several topics ranging from family communication to communication with the community in general. In this paper, we identify and discuss the strategies followed by those living away to keep the sense of community connectedness high. Among those strategies, we found that they keep connected with the community life through several sources following certain communication patterns which are used to as a way to reencounter with their people periodically. These findings serve to highlight the relevance of the role played by ICTs on supporting community connectedness for migrants and the opportunities for defining and developing new technologies.
Keywords: Community Connectedness, Presence, Migration
Being Inside the Quantum Atom BIBAKPHP 83-98
  Assimina M. Kontogeorgiou; Joan Bellou; Tassos A. Mikropoulos
This article explores the possibility of using dynamic Educational Virtual Environments (EVEs) for helping students with limited background in physics and mathematics to deeply understand Quantum Mechanics principles and create the correct mental images of atomic models. Taking under consideration the results of our pilot study we have created "The Quantum Atom", an educational environment with which 38 students interacted during well-designed learning tasks based on the social constructivist approach. The sense of presence seems to play an important role in our positive learning outcomes. Further research must be done in this domain focusing on the main features of Virtual Reality as many researchers argue that they support knowledge construction.
Keywords: Quantum Mechanics, Atomic Model, Educational Virtual Environments, Presence, Learning Outcomes

Other contents

Task and Stimulation Paradigm Effects in a P300 Brain Computer Interface Exploitable in a Virtual Environment: A Pilot Study BIBAKPHP 99-108
  Francesco Piccione; Konstantinos Priftis; Paolo Tonin; Denis Vidale; Roberto Furlan; Marianna Cavinato; Antonio Merico; Lamberto Piron
The aim of the present study is to compare different visual elicitation paradigms exploitable in a Virtual Environment in order to establish whether the BCI is affected by the structure of the elicitation paradigm, the modalities of stimulus presentation, and the complexity of stimulus recognition and semantic processing. We have developed a device which can control the motion of a cursor on a computer graphical interface, using ERPs (Piccione et al., 2006). Subsequently, we tested different visual elicitation paradigms which evoked P300 waves to control the movement of an object in a virtual environment. Visual stimuli, consisting of four arrows (forward, right, back, left), were randomly presented in peripheral positions of a virtual environment. Users were instructed to recognize only the stimulus related to the preferred object movement direction (target). The sum of the absolute differences between target and non-target traces (ra index) was compared in the different elicitation paradigms. Results showed a significant reduction of ra index with the use of more semantically complex paradigms. Therefore, the P300 BCI system seems to be affected by the structure of the elicitation paradigm, the modalities of stimulus presentation, and the complexity of stimulus recognition and semantic processing.
Keywords: BCI, ERP, P300, Visual Paradigms, Virtual Environment

psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2

Mixed Realities in the Urban Environment

The Use of Virtual and Mixed Reality Environments for Urban Behavioural Studies BIBAKPHP 119-130
  Andrew J. Park; Thomas W. Calvert; Patricia L. Brantingham; Paul J. Brantingham
Virtual/mixed reality 3D models of real-world environments can be used to run behavioural and other experiments with real human subjects, replacing the traditional approach where studies are conducted in physical environments. Use of the virtual/mixed reality environments can minimize problems related to feasibility, experimental control, ethics and cost, but care must be taken to ensure that the environments are immersive and create "suspension of disbelief". In this position paper the issues involved are discussed and illustrated by a 3D virtual model of an urban environment that is being used to study the role of fear in pedestrian navigation.
Keywords: Virtual Environment, Urban Environment, Pedestrian Navigation, CPTED, Fear of Crime
Tags and the City BIBAKPHP 131-156
  Minna Isomursu
This paper analyzes the findings of a set of field studies that explored the use of near field communication (NFC) tags in a mixed reality environment for providing access to digital services by touching a tag with a mobile phone. The field studies provide insight into user experience, usability, user acceptance and technical implementation issues that need to be considered when designing tag-based services. The paper proposes that if NFC technology becomes common, there is a compelling need for methods and practices for tag management. If such practices are not used and available, tags can form "tag litter" that ruins the user experience by corrupting the trust towards tags and tag-based services.
Keywords: mixed reality, NFC, tags, physical browsing
Experiences of Evaluating Presence in Augmented Realities BIBAKPHP 157-172
  A Rod McCall?; Anne-Kathrin Braun
This paper presents an overview of a study of 24 people who used an augmented reality game called TimeWarp. The paper initially discusses the game and evaluation methods chosen, it then explores emerging issues from the evaluation which are applicable to other augmented reality games and how existing user testing methods require further improvements in order to capture data relevant to the issues.
Keywords: Augmented Reality (AR), Multimodal Interfaces, Mobile Gaming, Pervasive Gaming, Mixed Reality (MR)
Experience Design for Interactive Products: Designing Technology Augmented Urban Playgrounds for Girls BIBAKPHP 173-188
  Aadjan van der Helm; Walter Aprile; David Keyson
Recent technological developments have made it possible to apply experience design also in the field of highly interactive product design, an area where involvement of non-trivial technology traditionally made it impossible to implement quick design cycles. With the availability of modular sensor and actuator kits, designers are able to quickly build interactive prototypes and realize more design cycles. In this paper we present a design process that includes experience design for the design of interactive products. The design process was developed for a master level course in product design. In addition, we discuss several cases from this course, applying the process to designing engaging interactive urban playgrounds.
Keywords: Urban, Prototyping, Exercise, Sport, Serious Game, Gender, Obesity, Experience Design

Other contents

Decoding Cognitive States from fMRI Data Using Support Vector Regression BIBAKPHP 189-201
  Maria Grazia Di Bono; Marco Zorzi
In this paper we describe a method based on Support Vector machines for Regression (SVR) to decode cognitive states from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) data. In the context of the Pittsburgh Brain Activity Interpretation Competition (PBAIC, 2007), three participants were scanned during three runs of 20-minute immersion in a Virtual Reality Environment (VRE) where they played a game that engaged them in various search tasks. A set of objective feature ratings was automatically extracted from the VRE during the scanning session, whereas a set of subjective features was then derived from each individual experience. The aim of the present study was to explore the feasibility of the SVR approach in the case of an extremely complex regression problem, in which subjective experience of participants immersed in a VRE had to be predicted from their fMRI data. The proposed methodology was modeled as a multiphase process: a pre-processing phase, based on a filter approach, for fMRI image voxel selection, and a prediction phase, implemented by nonlinear SVR, for decoding subjective cognitive states from the selected voxel time series. Results highlight the generalization ability of nonlinear SVR, making this approach particularly interesting for real world application of Brain Computer Interface (BCI).
Keywords: Brain Computer Interfaces, Signal Processing, fMRI Data, Multivariate Analysis, Support Vector Machine
Contrasting the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Virtual Reality and Real Environments in the Treatment of Acrophobia BIBAKPHP 203-216
  Carlos M. Coelho; Carlos F. Silva; Jorge A. Santos; Jennifer Tichon; Guy Wallis
Previous studies reported good results in using virtual reality for the treatment of acrophobia. Similarly this paper reports the use of a virtual environment for the treatment of acrophobia. In the study, 10 subjects were exposed to three sessions of simulated heights in a virtual reality (VR) system, and 5 others were exposed to a real environment. Both groups revealed significant progress in a range of anxiety, avoidance and behaviour measurements when confronted with virtual as well as real height circumstances. Despite VR participants experiencing considerably shorter treatment times than the real-world subjects, significant improvements were recorded on the Behavioural Avoidance Test, the Attitudes Toward Heights Questionnaire and the Acrophobia Questionnaire. These results are suggestive of a possible higher effectiveness and efficiency of VR in treating acrophobia.
Keywords: Acrophobia, heights, virtual reality, fear, treatment

psychnology 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3

Map-based social interaction

A Design Framework for Mapping Social Relationships BIBAKPHP 225-246
  Alistair Sutcliffe
This paper describes a design framework for representing social-spatial data on maps and diagrams and then illustrates the design approaches for representing social data in two applications. One derives from a project which compared social relationships, organisational structures and social networks of organisational members. The second project produced visualisation tools to support epidemiological investigations of obesity. The mapping approaches for different types of social data are illustrated with case studies.
Keywords: visualization, social data, representational design
Social Interaction through Map-based Wikis BIBAKPHP 247-267
  Andrea Marcante; Loredana Parasiliti Provenza
This paper introduces the notion of map-based wiki, a wiki that allows users to interact with each other and with information through a digital map. The map, either geographic or conceptual, becomes a medium for creating knowledge through digital annotations. Annotations may be multimodal. Audio or icon notes set the mood for perceiving map space, while text or graphic notes create information space. We analyze examples to gauge map-based wikis' potential, then focus on Banco Territorio, a map-based wiki designed for information and emotional spaces, which localizes both spaces to overcome cultural misunderstanding in social interaction through digital maps.
Keywords: map-based wiki, digital annotation, social interaction and communication, knowledge sharing, emotional mood
Nurturing Learners' Communities by Creating and Sharing Maps BIBAKPHP 269-289
  Sosuke Miura; Pamela Ravasi; Masanori Sugimoto
We present the SketchMap system, which integrates outdoor and classroom activities to support children's collaborative learning. Individual children create maps near their school in an outdoor environment using a SketchMap client. The maps are uploaded to the SketchMap web server for sharing among the children, who have created maps of different areas. Children can edit or add new information to the maps in their classroom or in their home. The goal of the SketchMap project is to investigate whether integrating outdoor and classroom activities, and sharing children's experiences through the maps can actually promote their collaborative learning and nurture learning communities including teachers and parents. The SketchMap system has been used in "Safety Map" and "Nature Exploration" classes in a Japanese elementary school. Evaluation of the SketchMap system is in progress, and issues found through the educational practices are described.
Keywords: Outdoor learning, collaborative learning, tablet PC, GPS, safety map, nature exploration map
SIM: A dynamic multidimensional visualization method for social networks BIBAKPHP 291-320
  Maria Chiara Caschera; Fernando Ferri; Patrizia Grifoni
Visualization plays an important role in social networks analysis to explore and investigate individual and groups behaviours. Therefore, different approaches have been proposed for managing networks patterns and structures according to the visualization purposes. This paper presents a method of social networks visualization devoted not only to analyse individual and group social networking but also aimed to stimulate the second-one. This method provides (using a hybrid visualization approach) both an egocentric as well as a global point of view. Indeed, it is devoted to explore the social network structure, to analyse social aggregations and/or individuals and their evolution. Moreover, it considers and integrates features such as real-time social network elements locations in local areas. Multidimensionality consists of social phenomena, their evolution during the time, their individual characterization, the elements social position, and their spatial location. The proposed method was evaluated using the Social Interaction Map (SIM) software module in the scenario of planning and managing a scientific seminars cycle. This method enables the analysis of the topics evolution and the participants' scientific interests changes using a temporal layers sequence for topics. This knowledge provides information for planning next conference and events, to extend and modify main topics and to analyse research interests trends.
Keywords: Social network visualization, Spatial representation of social information, Map based visualization

Other contents

Applying a Cognitive Engineering Approach to Interface Design of Energy Management Systems BIBAKPHP 321-345
  Thomas Hoff; Andreas Hauser
This article presents a case study of the user interface design of a grid (energy) management system. The theoretical backdrop of the case study is cognitive engineering, with its focus on supporting three levels of cognitive control, namely skill-, rules-, and knowledge-based control, respectively. In this design case study, the interface of the grid management system is divided into three hierarchical levels, each corresponding to a type of cognitive control. Details of the prototype system (the Compact System State Display) are introduced, as a reference to readers familiar with the particular challenges of designing energy management systems. The article also discusses the basic assumptions regarding human cognition and behaviour that engineers and designers might utilize in the design process, including the pros and cons of these assumptions.
Keywords: Ecological psychology, abstraction hierarchy, cognitive work analysis, energy management systems