The value of social interactions in VR
How do customers respond to new digital products? When Facebook acquired the VR solution Oculus, they were interested in understanding how people responded to social interaction in a virtual environment, and how this compared to normal talks. We used consumer neuroscience solutions to show both that VR experiences were as engaging as in-person meetings. Moreover, introverts actually showed a higher engagement and preference for VR-talks.
How the study was done
We tested 90 people from ages 18-51 who had little to no prior experience in VR. Each participant was randomly assigned to a group as to whether they would be talking to another person in a VR environment or in-person. Conversation pairs were also randomized.
All participants were wearing an EEG brain monitoring headset, and independent video recording was used both to ensure synchronization of recordings and to monitor people’s behavior. The conversations were asked to be either small-talk or on a deeper and more personal level. After their conversations, each participant underwent an interview. These steps are shown below (click on the image to get a larger version).
On the Facebook IQ homepage, they have further details and a video of the study.