Research Project Show VR Can Improve Memory Recall

A research project by University of Maryland shows that using VR can help information stick.

Its already been demonstrated that virtual reality (VR) can be beneficial to education and training, but a study by the University of Maryland shows that VR can help people retain information.

The study involved 40 volunteers attempting to memorise well-know faces within a special environment called a ‘memory palace’ with the researchers comparing the results when the images were displayed on a desktop PC or using a VR headset.

Half the participants viewed the memory palace’ first in VR, then on a desktop PC, while the other half viewed them on a desktop PC first. Participants were then asked to remember the location of each face seen in the memory palace environment.

The researchers then compared the results of the recall accuracy among the participants, with the results indicating that VR users performed 8.8% better, which the research team say is a statistically significant difference.

“This data is exciting in that it suggests that immersive environments could offer new pathways for improved outcomes in education and high-proficiency training,” said Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at UMD, in a statement. “By showing that virtual reality can help improve recall, it opens the door to further studies that look at the impact of VR-based training modules at all levels — from elementary school children learning astronomy to trauma residents acquiring the latest knowledge in lifesaving procedures. We believe the future of education and innovation will benefit greatly from the use of these new visual technologies.”

The project was supported by the National Science Foundation, the State of Maryland’s MPower initiative and the Nvidia CUDA Center of Excellent program. The study results were published in the journal Virtual Reality and can be found on the UMD website.

For future coverage on academic research into VR, keep checking back with VRFocus.

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