Investigation of physiological differences between immersive virtual environment and indoor environment in a building

Dongwoo Yeom, Joon Ho Choi, Yimin Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In the domain of building science and architectural design, the immersive virtual environment is being commonly adopted due to its convenience and cost-effectiveness, especially for research relevant to occupant behaviour in a building indoor environmental control. The goal of this study is to investigate whether such an immersive virtual environment condition could affect an occupant's thermal sensation and physiological response to ambient conditions differently, as compared to a real indoor environment, even though those two thermal conditions are the same or very similar. A series of human subject experiments using 18 participants was conducted in an environmental chamber. While thermal conditions were controlled at 20℃ to 30℃ in each environment, respectively, participants were asked to periodically report their thermal sensations on their body. Their heart rates were also continuously measured. The result of our experiments revealed that overall thermal sensations on the whole and local body areas showed some significant differences between the indoor environment and immersive virtual environment conditions during the same thermal conditions. Also, the heart rate difference between two environmental conditions was statistically significant at every thermal sensation level. These findings support the idea that significant physiological response differences could be affected by the immersive virtual environment condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-62
Number of pages17
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Heart rate
  • Immersive virtual environment
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Occupant behaviour
  • Physiological response
  • Thermal sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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