Bailey, J., Bailenson, J.N., Won, A.S., Flora, J., & Armel, K.C (2012). Presence and memory: Immersive virtual reality effects on cued recall. Proceedings of the International Society for Presence Research Annual Conference. October 24-26, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Presence, the psychological experience of “being there,” is an important construct to consider when investigating the impact of mediated experiences on cognition. Though several studies have investigated the influence of presence on the memory of virtual environments (i.e. recalling virtual objects), few have tested how presence impacts memory on subsequent tasks in the physical world. Thirty-three male and female college students were exposed to a pro-environmental message in an immersive virtual environment. After the virtual reality treatment, they completed a memory task in the physical world regarding pro-environmental principles. Results showed a significant negative association between levels of reported presence in the virtual world and the number of correct water conservation examples remembered in the physical world. These findings suggest that media technology that induces presence can influence an individual’s ability to remember information in the physical world. Possible theoretical explanations of how presence may negatively impact cognition are presented.