Does Virtual Reality Affect Visual Perception Of Egocentric Distance?

  • Rousset Thomas
  • Bourdin Christophe
  • Goulon Cedric
  • Monnoyer Jocelyn
  • Vercher Jean-Louis

  • Driving simulation
  • Distance perception
  • Stereoscopy
  • Parallax
  • Variability


Virtual reality (driving simulators) tends to generalize for the study of human behavior in mobility. It is thus crucial to ensure that perception of space and motion is little or not affected by the virtual environment (VE). The aim of this study was to determine a metrics of distance perception in VEs and whether this metrics depends on interactive factors: stereoscopy and motion parallax. After a training session, participants were asked, while driving, to estimate the relative location (5 to 80 m) of a car on the same road. The overall results suggest that distance perception in this range does not depend on interactive factors. In average, as generally reported, subjects underestimated the distances whatever the vision conditions. However, the study revealed a large interpersonal variability: two profiles of participants were defined, those who quite accurately perceived distances in VR and those who underestimated distances as usually reported. Overall, this classification was correlated to the level of performance of participants during the training phase. Furthermore, learning performance is predictive of the behavior of participants.