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Virtual reality (VR) horror gameplay – Exploring emotional experiences and dreaming occurrences affected by VR Resident Evil 7

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
The fusion of virtual reality (VR) and interactive gaming has elevated horror games like Resident Evil 7 to unprecedented immersion and presence, generating more intense mediated experiences among individuals. Recent studies have investigated the effects of VR gameplay on individuals' cognition and user experiences, notably focusing on generated emotions and physiological responses. This study sought to explore individuals' dreams affected by recurring VR horror gameplay and expand on the emotions explored by previous research. Employing a phenomenological approach, descriptive data was collected through data collection methods of semi-structured interviews and dream journals as participants engaged in successive gameplay and noted down their dreams throughout a month. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify codes and develop themes concerning the research phenomena. Data analysis indicates two themes emerged about gameplay experiences and two about dreaming occurrences and recognition. Aligning with previous work, findings unveiled that VR interactions with game components significantly contributed to the overall sense of immersion, intensifying the horror effects. And, participants expressed an increased sense of immersion as gameplay progressed. In addition, participants recounted their elicited emotional responses like fear and anxiety. Expanding upon previous studies examining the connection between video games and dreaming, this study revealed that participants' dreams mirrored game-related content. Moreover, findings also highlighted that participants' dream emotions echoed elicited VR game emotions. In discussions about dreaming, participants also conveyed a heightened awareness and meticulous retrospection throughout. These findings contribute to our understanding of how interactive media affects individuals, particularly highlighting the interconnected realms between our waking and dreaming lives.
61 pages.
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Fisher, Brian
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