The mission of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab is to understand the dynamics and implications of interactions among people in immersive virtual reality simulations (VR), and other forms of human digital representations in media, communication systems, and games. Our work is centered on using empirical, behavioral science methodologies to explore people as they interact in these digital worlds. However, oftentimes it is necessary to develop new gesture tracking systems, three-dimensional modeling techniques, or agent-behavior algorithms in order to answer these basic social questions. Consequently, we also engage in research geared towards developing new ways to produce these VR simulations.
Our research programs tend to fall under one of three larger questions:
What new social issues arise from the use of immersive VR communication systems?
How can VR be used as a basic research tool to study the nuances of face-to-face interaction?
How can VR be applied to improve everyday life, such as conservation, empathy, and communications systems.
For more information on these research questions, check our current projects page.