Abstract of doctoral thesis - Vaia Maragkou

"Augmented/Virtual Reality Environments for psychological and cognitive tests using neurofeedback"


Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are used today in fields as diverse as Medicine, Psychology, Education, Digital Gaming or Professional Training, among others. VR offers its users a realistic an immediate experience. Thanks to the feeling of immersion and presence that VR creates, the levels of attention, concentration and focus of the users to the virtual content is may be considerably raised. The aim of this thesis is the design, development and field testing of immersive VR environments for special (educational) purposes.  The research plan focuses on the support of cognitive / educational activities through VR and on the investigation of the role and impact of VR technology on the cognitive / learning outcomes. Electroencephalography (EEG) can contribute to the better understanding of neural activities in the human brain, at all levels. More specifically, event-related potentials (ERP) measured non-invasively from the scalp, offer a quasi-continuous registration of the electrical activity of the brain. Voltage changes provoked by sensory, kinetic or cognitive events may be detected in almost real time and offer a safe, non-invasive approach to the study of psycho-physiological or mental/cognitive processes. In order to evaluate the VR environments developed for the purposes of this thesis, a series of test is planned with specific target groups, where the biofeedback method through the EEG is going to be exploited for the study of the subjects’ focus, attention and information retention levels while they will be interacting with the VR environment and content.