How many degrees of Emotional Separation are there between Real and Virtual Nature? A pilot study

Eleonora Diletta Sarcinella, Alice Chirico, V Mancuso, Marta Pizzolante, V Murtas, V Lauro, Sabrina Bartolotta, Andrea Gaggioli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


How do specific nature experiences in VR differ from the equivalent real ones? Although virtual reality ( VR) is increasingly being used as an ecological tool to resemble even complex phenomena, a debated issue still concerns the extent to which experiences in VR are similar to the equivalent real ones. This is especially relevant at the emotional level, as claimed in the emerging field of Virtual Emotions, and with regards to a peculiar content, that is, simulated nature. Despite these advancements in the understanding of the benefits associated with simulated nature, little research has examined to what extent the effects of virtual and real nature on emotions are comparable. In this pilot study, we addressed this issue by comparing virtual and real nature's ability to convey affect, specific discrete emotions, and aesthetic emotions. Following a within-subjects design, 16 participants were exposed to the same natural environment either in reality or in virtual reality. Next, type and valence of emotions, as well as sense of presence, immersion and state anxiety reported by participants, were compared across conditions. Bayesian factor paired t-test showed that only some aesthetic emotions and state anxiety were significantly more intense in the real context compared to the virtual one. Curiously, mixed affects were more intense in reality than in virtual reality. Presence was significantly higher after being exposed to the real condition, but immersion was not. Several internal significant correlations among presence, emotions, aesthetic emotions, affect and anxiety in each condition were found. These results provided evidence that only some emotions elicited by virtual reality were comparable to those evoked by real-life experiences and this deserve further investigation.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)47-52
Numero di pagine6
RivistaAnnual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • Emotions
  • Affect
  • Virtual Reality
  • Nature
  • Virtual Emotions


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