The 360º Virtual Scenario research program aims to remedy some of the defects of the traditional scenario (or “vignette”) method by employing immersive 360º video. This virtual reality (VR) method is based on the assumption that the commonly used written scenarios are unlikely to capture the more visceral and emotional aspects involved in real-world offending, which commonly occurs during “hot” and altered states of mind. Additionally, the 10–15 line narrative of the standard scenario is unlikely adequately to reflect the complex reality of real-life decision-making situations or realistically to incorporate important nuances of social experience. Rather than asking participants to imagine themselves in a specific situation on the basis of a short narrative, a VR scenario perceptually immerses them in it. Our findings demonstrate that the increased feelings of being “present” in the situation and the perceived realism of the VR scenario compared to the written counterpart indeed trigger stronger emotional experiences that influence subsequent aggressive intentions.
Research output: Scientific articles | Photo: Helene Peters.
Status of project: Ongoing Department: Criminology Project languages: English Project duration: Project start: 2020
Using of 360º Virtual Scenarios to
Study Aggressive Behavior in a
The effect of emotions on decision making transcends daily life. Although some emotions like fear can sharpen senses and focus decisions, other affective states like anger can bias judgements and make people behave in a way that is not in our self-interest. This is because emotional experiences produce intense motivations towards goal-oriented behavior. Growing research suggests that like other risky behaviors, emotional experiences also influence the decision to engage in crime. However, because crime cannot easily be examined in laboratory or real-world settings (for ethical and safety concerns), this research has been limited to the use of traditional survey methodology, which cannot capture the degree to which a potential criminal actually experiences an emotional state within a criminal opportunity. Instead, VR Scenarios immerse study participants in environments that more closely reflect “real-world” settings where crimes occur. The focus of this project to is to further explore the influence of two criminogenic emotions: anger and sexual arousal. To test the effect of these affective states on crime decisions we are developing two virtual scenarios that present the opportunity to engage in a bar fight or intervene with sexual assault. Our goal is to assess whether elements of the scenario induce emotional responses in our study participants that subsequently shape behavioral intentions to act aggressively.