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Monday, June 18, 2018

Users Retain Info Better from Virtual Study

People recall information better after viewing it in an immersive virtual environment than they do when using a desktop display, according to recent research conducted at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Volunteers first studied printouts of two 21-image sets of famous faces, such as Napoleon, Gandhi, Mickey Mouse, George Washington, and Marilyn Monroe. They were then shown one set of faces placed throughout one of two “memory palaces,” either an ornate palace or a medieval townscape.

After five minutes to navigate and study the memory palace and then a two-minute break, the subjects re-entered the memory palace, where the faces had been replaced by numbers, and were asked to recall which faces had been in which positions. Half of the participants viewed the scene first using a virtual-reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) and then a desktop computer display with mouse-based interaction; the other half used the desktop first and then the HMD.

“The users that used the HMD first and then moved to a traditional desktop had better performance than those who used the desktop first and then the HMD,” wrote the researchers. “This suggests a positive transfer effect from the HMD to a desktop.”

Overall, VR users showed 8.8% better recall, which means immersive VR-based education and virtual memory palaces may prove more effective than traditional methods in K-12, higher ed, and job training.

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