Recently, 360° panorama technologies have been used to create videos and pictures of real and virtual environments, thus opening new possibilities for psychological research. The aim of this study is to compare a 360° real panorama environment to a computer-simulated one to verify if they are equally efficient in generating sense of presence, emotions, and relaxation in individuals. The study employs a 3 × 2 mixed factorial design. Forty participants took part in the study and were assessed on self-reported anxiety and mood levels before and during the virtual reality (VR) experience of a relaxing video in computer graphics or shot in 360°. After the experience, sense of presence and experience ratings were also collected. Heart rate data during the experience were also used. Both inferential and Bayesian analyses showed a lack of effect of the manipulation: there is no difference between a 360° panorama environment and a simulated environment in generating sense of presence, anxiety reduction, and in improving emotional states. These results highlight the feasibility of using a 360° real panorama VR if the participants’ task is passive and requires no active exploration of the environment, as the development of the 360° video is easier and cheaper than the one required by a computer-simulated environment.
- 360° Technology
- Case comparison
- Computer-simulated environment
- Sense of presence
- Virtual reality