ADAPT and Human+ Researcher publishes study on VR Cinema as an alternative to in-person co-viewing

18 October 2023

ADAPT, Trinity Long Room Hub (TCD), and Insight (UCD) researcher, Dr Kata Szita has recently published a paper on virtual reality (VR) alternatives to in-person co-viewing cinema experiences. The paper, “Going to the movies in VR: Virtual reality cinemas as alternatives to in-person co-viewing”, examines virtual spectatorship in the context of social isolation and investigates whether VR cinemas could provide an engaging alternative for collective movie watching. 

To measure the effects of VR viewing, the team designed a behavioural experiment in which participants watched a feature film sequence in either VR or in a physical screening room in the presence or absence of viewing companions. Following the viewing, participants were invited to record their experiences. Observations from the study indicated that VR cinemas can evoke similar experiences of community to movie theatres and can be just as enjoyable as the physical experience in terms of emotional engagement and narrative empathy. In comparison, social viewing can lead to less engagement with the film and more distractions, depending on the screening environment. The study also indicated that early adopters of the VR technology are more likely to have an enjoyable and engaging film experience.

Co-authors of the study include Wyatt Moss-Wellington (University of New England, Australia), Xiaolin Sun (University of Nottingham Ningbo China), and Eugene Ch’ng (University of Nottingham Ningbo China).

Access the full paper here.