A Comparison of Neural Activity for Peripersonal and Extrapersonal Viewing in Real and Virtual Environments
Date of Award
J. Adam Jones
This study involved a series of tests comparing the similarities and differences in neural activity at a subject’s peripheral and extrapersonal space in the real environment and virtual reality. We hypothesized that there would be similar brain activity at each of these environments depending on the focal distance of an object from the participant. Peripheral space is the visual space that is a reachable distance from a person. It has an overall neural pattern in the dorsal stream of the brain. Extrapersonal space is the visual space that does not directly surround a person and cannot be directly acted on. The overall neural pattern involved is in the ventral stream of the brain. In virtual reality, a person is able to interact with the virtual world presented just as they would with the real-world environment. They experience peripheral and extrapersonal space even though the device they wear is only inches away from their eyes. Data in this experiment was taken using electroencephalography (EEG). It was processed and analyzed using EEGLAB, a program of the computer software MATLAB. After data analysis, it was found that in the real environment and virtual reality in a person’s peripersonal space, there was neural activity in the intraparietal cortex of the brain and along the dorsal pathway of the brain. When studying visual perception in a person’s extrapersonal space, it was found that in the real environment and virtual reality, there was neural activity in the ventral occipital cortex and activity in the medial temporal cortex of the subject’s brain. This correlates to what we anticipated to happen after studying previous research on visual perception in the real world. In the future, we hope to be able to take data on a greater variety of participants as well as add trials studying the effect of augmented reality. This will give us an even better idea of the way the brain reacts while seeing objects at different focal distances in a variety of environments.
Eustice, Olivia, "A Comparison of Neural Activity for Peripersonal and Extrapersonal Viewing in Real and Virtual Environments" (2020). Honors Theses. 1484.
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