Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science


Computer Science and Statistics

First Advisor

Jean-Yves Hervé


This dissertation is a study on the ways in which Virtual Reality can actively and reactively affect human physiology. The first manuscript describes the design of a highly generalized Virtual Reality biofeedback system. This system was developed such that, given proper design, it would be able to provide users with a highly responsive Virtual Environment to meet the criteria of embodiment, which will increase the user's responsiveness to stimuli. The system also functions as a biofeedback system that can be used for biomechanical as well as physiological feedback by using a generalized design paradigm.

The second manuscript describes a biofeedback game designed using the system from the first manuscript. This manuscript highlights the advantages of using the generalized multi-sensor design the system incorporates, and goes into detail on how the system processes sensor data for biofeedback.

The third manuscript discusses an experiment on using perspective to modulate the degree to which a participant responds to environmental stimuli. Unlike contemporary research, this study uses environmental stimuli rather than threat response to elicit a response in participants. The study proposes that while research in Virtual Reality generally focuses on increasing the feeling of immersion participants feel, there are potential advantages in decreasing the degree to which participants respond to stimuli as well. Particularly in the areas of Virtual Reality game development and film making, being able to reduce the degree of impact participants feel in response to negative stimuli would greatly increase the design options within these fields. While this study does not fully solve the problem of how to best design Virtual Environments within which to immerse participants, it does provide new and vital results that advance the field.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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