Event: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Date: May 18, 2019
Location: UCI Student Center
Presenter: Angelica Sheen
Mentor: Susanne Jaeggi
Title: Shima: Validity-Testing a Virtual Reality Measure of Risk Propensity
What would you do if you approached a yellow traffic light—speed through, or stop without hesitation? Various risk attitudes could be beneficial in some contexts but detrimental in others. Given the importance of these choices, psychologists seek to measure these individual differences in risk-taking behavior. Video games have emerged as a new way to measure psychological traits, largely because of their immersive and motivating nature. With virtual reality (VR) technology on the rise, this could be a viable new way of evaluating psychological traits in individuals. Elements that traditional risk-taking measures lack, namely, immersion and salience, are inherent in the structure of the VR landscape. “Shima” is a VR game that combines free exploration with decisions along the way—much like real life. Players are told that they are photographers who need to document creatures on an island. Equipped with only a virtual camera and some film, players try to take the best pictures they can without being attacked, which results in a loss of film. Proportional to the standardized games it is being compared to, Shima has its own risk outcomes, namely: the participant’s distance from monster and their score, as an evaluation of this. We are still in the process of data collection, but we hypothesize that this immersive gameplay is a promising risk-propensity measure for future studies.