A psychophysical examination of swinging rooms, cylindrical virtual reality setups, and characteristic trajectories

Douglas W. Cunningham, H. G. Nusseck, Harald Teufel, Christian Wallraven, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual Reality (VR) is increasingly being used in industry, medicine, entertainment, education, and research. It is generally critical that the VR setups produce behavior that closely resembles real world behavior. One part of any task is the ability to control our posture. Since postural control is well studied in the real world and is known to be strongly influenced by visual information, it is an ideal metric for examining the behavioral fidelity of VR setups. Moreover, VR-based experiments on postural control can provide fundamental new insights into human perception and cognition. Here, we employ the "swinging room paradigm" to validate a specific VR setup. Furthermore, we systematically examined a larger range of room oscillations than previously studied in any single setup. We also introduce several new methods and analyses that were specifically designed to optimize the detection of synchronous swinging between the observer and the virtual room. The results show that the VR setup has a very high behavioral fidelity and that increases in swinging room amplitude continue to produce increases in body sway even at very large room displacements (+/-80 cm). Finally, the combination of new methods proved to be a very robust, reliable, and sensitive way of measuring body sway.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE Virtual Reality
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct 24
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE Virtual Reality 2006 - Alexandria, VA, United States
Duration: 2006 Mar 252006 Mar 29


OtherIEEE Virtual Reality 2006
CountryUnited States
CityAlexandria, VA



  • Applied perception
  • Computer graphics
  • Human-computer interface
  • Postural stability
  • Swinging room

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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