Sensory Environments Evaluation

Project Leader: Jacki Morie

The Sensory Environments Evaluation (SEE) project develops methodologies for creating and utilizing multimodal, emotionally affective virtual environments to provide more effective training. Effective training means training that results in a high degree of initial learning and subsequent retention of the lessons learned. Retention is particularly important for military training because lessons learned often fade over time requiring expensive retraining. Humans remember events longer if they have an emotional connection to the event. The SEE project capitalizes on this fact by eliciting degrees of emotional responses from participants during a scenario using integrated sensory cues (visual, aural, haptic and olfactory) combined with current findings from the neurobiological, cognitive and psychological fields. Rather than a focus on photo-realism, this methodology of emotional connection results in a simulation that elicits the gestalt sense that it “feels real.” SEE’s ongoing evaluation studies test the effectiveness of the sensory modalities and the emotional response of participants through physiological monitoring. Analysis of data to date has shown that high arousal states in the virtual environment equate to increased retention, and that participants with high first person shooter (FPS) game skills may need enhanced stimulation to achieve the same amount of arousal/retention as non-FPS game players.

Contact: Jacquelyn Ford Morie