Studying Fear in Virtual Reality






Celebration end of the trimester!

Studying abroad in New Zealand had challenged me to conduct research I have not experienced before. This has helped me grow not only in the academic sense but also in professional aspects as well. I had approached the psychology department professors and chatted with them about my strengths and potential interests prior to the start of the term. I have grown to love cognitive-affective research under the guidance of Professor Gina Grimshaw.

My project this term was on analyzing pilot data and set up a clear pipeline of data processing and preparation for the virtual reality project. This project focuses on the study of fear – measuring from multiple aspects: behavioral, physiological, and subjective. The study prompts the subject on a high level looking down on the city and walking a plank. Even though the subject understands logically that they are in a virtual world, they can’t help but register fear. This interesting phenomenon using VR to simulate different situations for subjects to experience serves as an incredible new medium to study emotions.

I have learned from my principal investigator (PI) the importance of storytelling. She is an incredible speaker. I feel that I can confidently tell people about my project in a single sentence. Once the people are interested, they proceed to ask me the details. I also experienced a different leading style working with her. I definitely learned a lot about myself and the PI style I would like to work within the future. My direct supervisor, Chris, always inspire me about his excitement about projects. We always have great conversations. He motivates me to be creative and structural at the same time. I loved working with him in the past few months. I appreciate members from the rest of the lab who made me feel welcomed. I also enjoyed getting to know people and their passion projects.

On Friday, I finished my last class ever in my undergraduate career. I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of this lab. This lab had been an incredible experience for me.

This past few months as the last bit of my undergraduate career had been much more difficult than I thought. I thought I would be able to become really good friends with local students and/ or international students. Even though I do get a chance of becoming good friends with some people, I met so many more reserved and, sadly, really awful people. I have grown so much in character, resilience, and adaptation to new culture. Thankful for the opportunities I had been given and looking forward to good future to come.