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Presence and User Experience in a Virtual Environment under the Influence of Ethanol: An Explorative Study

Journal article
Authors M. Lorenz
J. Brade
L. Diamond
Daniel Sjölie
M. Busch
M. Tscheligi
P. Klimant
C. E. Heyde
N. Hammer
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 8
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords alcohol-dependent patients, presence questionnaire, reality, anxiety, health, brain, connectivity, intoxication, metaanalysis, consumption, Science & Technology - Other Topics
Subject categories Psychology, Neuroscience


Virtual Reality (VR) is used for a variety of applications ranging from entertainment to psychological medicine. VR has been demonstrated to influence higher order cognitive functions and cortical plasticity, with implications on phobia and stroke treatment. An integral part for successful VR is a high sense of presence - a feeling of 'being there' in the virtual scenario. The underlying cognitive and perceptive functions causing presence in VR scenarios are however not completely known. It is evident that the brain function is influenced by drugs, such as ethanol, potentially confounding cortical plasticity, also in VR. As ethanol is ubiquitous and forms part of daily life, understanding the effects of ethanol on presence and user experience, the attitudes and emotions about using VR applications, is important. This exploratory study aims at contributing towards an understanding of how low-dose ethanol intake influences presence, user experience and their relationship in a validated VR context. It was found that low-level ethanol consumption did influence presence and user experience, but on a minimal level. In contrast, correlations between presence and user experience were strongly influenced by low-dose ethanol. Ethanol consumption may consequently alter cognitive and perceptive functions related to the connections between presence and user experience.

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