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Shane Baker, Matt Moran, Derek McClellan, D. Alexander Varakin; Miniature models and immersion: A failed replication. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):139. doi: 10.1167/18.10.139.
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Previous research suggests that viewing movies in realistic miniature theaters can increase feelings of immersion relative to viewing movies on isolated monitors (Baranowski & Hecht, 2014, Perception). The current experiment tested whether realistic miniatures also affect memory for the movie being viewed. Moran et al. (2017, VSS) found that realistic miniature increased immersion relative to unrealistic miniatures, but memory was unaffected. However, the questions used to assess memory were very easy, raising the possibility of a ceiling effect. The current experiment was very similar to Moran et al. (2017). Participants (N = 180) watched the first 11 minutes of a movie (Gulliver's Travels, 2010) in one of 3 conditions. In the realistic condition, the movie was viewed through a realistic movie theater (complete with patrons and chairs). In the haphazard condition, it was viewed through model with the same dimensions, but materials were haphazardly placed around the walls and floor so as not to resemble a theater. In the no model condition, participants simply watched the movie on a computer monitor. At the end of the clip immersion was measured using Baranowski & Hecht's questionnaire and memory was assessed with a surprise 20 question multiple-choice test. Ten of the memory questions were used in Moran et al's experiment, and 10 new questions were added that were intended to be more difficult. Replicating previous work, memory was not affected by the different viewing conditions, even though the new questions resulted in lower performance (66% vs. 90%, p < .05). However, immersion results failed to replicate: immersion scores did not significantly differ across the three conditions. Since our method was not identical to Baranowski and Hecht's, it is not clear why our findings differ from theirs. Still, the current results suggest that realistic miniatures may not be sufficient to increase immersion.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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