Experiencing simulated confrontations in virtual reality

Patrick Dickinson, Arthur Jones, Wayne Christian, Andrew Westerside, Franky Mulloy, Kathrin Gerling, Kieran Hicks, Liam Wilson, Adrian Parke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The use of virtual reality (VR) to simulate confrontational human behaviour has significant potential for use in training, where the recreation of uncomfortable feelings may help users to prepare for challenging real-life situations. In this paper we present a user study (n=68) in which participants experienced simulated confrontational behaviour performed by a virtual character either in immersive VR, or on a 2D display. Participants reported a higher elevation in anxiety in VR, which correlated positively with a perceived sense of physical space. Character believability was influenced negatively by visual elements of the simulation, and positively by behavioural elements, which complements findings from previous work. We recommend the use of VR for simulations of confrontational behaviour, where a realistic emotional response is part of the intended experience. We also discuss incorporation of domain knowledge of human behaviours, and carefully crafted motion-captured sequences, to increase users’ sense of believability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '21
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsYoshifumi Kitamura, Aaron Quigley
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherACM Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781450380966
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2021
Event2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Online
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021
https://chi2021.acm.org/ (Conference website.)


Conference2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI '21
Internet address


  • virtual reality
  • confrontational behaviour
  • virtual character


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