Methodological and Institutional Considerations for the Use of 360-Degree Video and Pet Animals in Human Subject Research: an Experimental Case Study from the United States.

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Behavior Research Methods

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Head-mounted virtual-reality headsets and virtual-reality content have experienced large technological advances and rapid proliferation over the last years. These immersive technologies bear great potential for the facilitation of the study of human decision-making and behavior in safe, perceptually realistic virtual environments. Best practices and guidelines for the effective and efficient use of 360-degree video in experimental research is also evolving. In this paper, we summarize our research group's experiences with a sizable experimental case study on virtual-reality technology, 360-degree video, pet animals, and human participants. Specifically, we discuss the institutional, methodological, and technological challenges encountered during the implementation of our 18-month-long research project on human emotional response to short-duration 360-degree videos of human-pet interactions. Our objective in this paper is to contribute to the growing body of research on 360-degree video and to lower barriers related to the conceptualization and practice of research at the intersection of virtual-reality experiences, 360-degree video, live animals, and human behavior. Practical suggestions for human-subject researchers interested in utilizing virtual-reality technology, 360-degree videos, and pet animals as a part of their research are discussed.


© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2020



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