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Int J Psychophysiol. 2017 Dec;122:75-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.08.013. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

EEG-based cognitive load of processing events in 3D virtual worlds is lower than processing events in 2D displays.

Author information

1
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Virtual-Reality & NeuroCognition Lab, Haifa, Israel. Electronic address: alexda@technion.ac.il.
2
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, Virtual-Reality & NeuroCognition Lab, Haifa, Israel.

Abstract

Interacting with 2D displays, such as computer screens, smartphones, and TV, is currently a part of our daily routine; however, our visual system is built for processing 3D worlds. We examined the cognitive load associated with a simple and a complex task of learning paper-folding (origami) by observing 2D or stereoscopic 3D displays. While connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG) system, participants watched a 2D video of an instructor demonstrating the paper-folding tasks, followed by a stereoscopic 3D projection of the same instructor (a digital avatar) illustrating identical tasks. We recorded the power of alpha and theta oscillations and calculated the cognitive load index (CLI) as the ratio of the average power of frontal theta (Fz.) and parietal alpha (Pz). The results showed a significantly higher cognitive load index associated with processing the 2D projection as compared to the 3D projection; additionally, changes in the average theta Fz power were larger for the 2D conditions as compared to the 3D conditions, while alpha average Pz power values were similar for 2D and 3D conditions for the less complex task and higher in the 3D state for the more complex task. The cognitive load index was lower for the easier task and higher for the more complex task in 2D and 3D. In addition, participants with lower spatial abilities benefited more from the 3D compared to the 2D display. These findings have implications for understanding cognitive processing associated with 2D and 3D worlds and for employing stereoscopic 3D technology over 2D displays in designing emerging virtual and augmented reality applications.

KEYWORDS:

3D virtual reality; Cognitive load; EEG; Social learning VLE

PMID:
27592084
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.08.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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