12.4 Experiments on Human Subjects

Imagine that you have developed a new locomotion method with hopes that it reduces VR sickness. You and a few friends may try it and believe it is better than the default method. How do you convince the skeptical world that it is better, which includes people who are less likely to be biased toward preferring your presumably clever, new method? You could argue that it is better because it respects known issues from human physiology and perception, which would be a decent start. This would have provided good motivation for trying the method in the first place; however, it is not sufficient by itself because there is so much uncertainty in how the body interacts with technology. The solution is to design an experiment that scientifically establishes whether your method is better. This leads to many challenges, such as determining how many people should try it, what exactly they should do, how long they should do it for, who should be assigned to which method, and how their sickness will be measured afterward. Some of these difficulties emerged in Section 12.3. If the experiment is designed well, then scientists will be on your side to support the results. If some people are still not convinced, then at least you will have the support of those who believe in the scientific method! Fortunately, this includes the psychologists and neuroscientists, and even the closely researchers in the related field of human-computer interaction [37,40].

Steven M LaValle 2020-01-06