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Jack Loomis

University of California, Santa Barbara, USA



Increasing the effectiveness of virtual reality through research on perception, cognition, and action


The effectiveness of virtual reality for a wide range of applications is limited by perceptual error and inadequate locomotion interfaces.  I will discuss research on visual and auditory perception in virtual environments, showing how imperfection in the implementation of virtual reality has resulted in errors in distance perception, errors which reduce the effectiveness of virtual reality as a medium for training new skills.  I will also discuss research showing how the fidelity of the locomotion interface greatly impacts performance on spatial cognition tasks.


Jack Loomis is a Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His research is concerned with the perceptual and cognitive processes underlying complex behavior in three-dimensional space. His basic research has dealt with visual space perception, auditory space perception, visual control of locomotion, touch, sensory substitution, spatial cognition, and social interaction. Much of his work has made use of virtual reality.  On the applied side, he was director for over 20 years of a project developing navigation systems for blind people and has done research on the visual control of flight.