Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Advancing Attention Control Using VR-Induced Multimodal Artificial Synesthesia

Version 1 : Received: 6 August 2018 / Approved: 7 August 2018 / Online: 7 August 2018 (05:54:14 CEST)

How to cite: Reif, J.H.; Alhalabi, W. Advancing Attention Control Using VR-Induced Multimodal Artificial Synesthesia. Preprints 2018, 2018080134 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201808.0134.v1). Reif, J.H.; Alhalabi, W. Advancing Attention Control Using VR-Induced Multimodal Artificial Synesthesia. Preprints 2018, 2018080134 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201808.0134.v1).

Abstract

This paper is an interdisciplinary study of novel applications of techniques and tools of an area of brain science, known as Synesthesia (involving associations and/or confusion between distinct senses), to area of Computer Science known as Immersive Virtual Reality (VR), that makes the subject’s awareness of physical self be diminished by being surrounded in an engrossing artificial environment.  Natural Synesthesia has for the last decade been an important emerging area in brain science but is present in only a small proportion of the population. For example a person with Natural Synesthesia, when viewing a grapheme, may perceive a color additionally to be associated to the grapheme. In contrast, Artificial synesthesia (also known as virtual synesthesia or synthetic synesthesia) has been defined as the sensory joining due a cross-modal mapping device, where information of one sense is accompanied by an induced perception in another sense. In particular, we propose use of a multimodal manner of displaying information in VR to increase and concentrate attention. Artificial Synesthesia to synthetically create induced associations between senses, allowing Artificial Synesthesia to be experienced by anyone using a VR system. The paper describes the enhancement of immersive VR by use of Artificial Synesthesia to improve the system’s performance at steering and directing the attention of the user. We describe techniques for an enhanced immersive VR that displays associations between a variety of senses: between colors and characters, also between colors and sounds, and between sounds and the position of tactile sensations. The sense association provided by Artificial Synesthesia allows the system to better capture the user’s attention and better direct that attention.  A major application of our work in VR-induced Artificial Synesthesia is to provide an enhanced methodology for controlling the attention of the subject, and to improve the direction of attention of subjects undergoing guided imagery therapies for pain relief. Other potential high-impact applications include improved immersive VR, more programmable human/computer interfaces and other medical therapies.

Subject Areas

virtual reality (VR); immersive; synesthesia; synesthaesia; artificial synesthesia; pain therapy

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