Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: General/Experimental




The purpose of this study was to examine whether we could manipulate an individual’s body temperature by immersing them in a virtual environment. Virtual reality (VR) involves digital environment immersion of individuals and their movements into a digital space designed to simulate a real environment. The goal of VR is to give the perception that people are actively interacting with the virtual environment. The present study examined the effects of VR on participants in two conditions: the experimental condition of a snowy blizzard environment and the control condition of a temperate forest environment. It was hypothesized that participants would experience an objective surface temperature decrease as well as a subjective body temperature decrease in the experimental condition. Results revealed no significant objective change in surface temperature. For the subjective measure, a main effect was observed for time, which was modified by an interaction between time and condition. Participants showed a significant perceived temperature change through the subjective measure. Overall, these results suggest VR can have an effect on peoples’ perception of temperature, indicating usefulness in clinical settings where it is desired to create a mental effect.

Included in

Psychology Commons