Exploratory study on the use of HMD virtual reality to investigate individual differences in visual processing styles


Global and local processing is part of human perceptual organisation, where global processing enables us to extract the ‘gist’ of the visual information and local processing helps us to perceive the details. Individual differences in these two types of visual processing have been found in autism and ADHD. Virtual Reality (VR) has become a more available method of research in the last few decades. No previous research has investigated perceptual differences using this technology. The standard ROCF test was used as a baseline task to look at a practical aspect of using VR as an experimental platform. 94 participants were tested. Attention-to-detail, Attention Switching and Imagination subscales of AQ questionnaire were found to be predictors of organisational ROCF scores, whereas only Attention-to-Detail was predictive of perceptual ROCF scores. The current study is an example of how classic psychological paradigms can be transferred into the virtual world. Further investigation of the distinct individual preferences in drawing tasks in VR could lead to a better understanding of how we process visuospatial information. As a result, such findings would inevitably extend to industrial applications.

Journal of Enabling Technologies