Is seeing believing? The effects of virtual reality on young children’s understanding of possibility and impossibility

Anastasia Schmitz, Richard Joiner, Paul Golds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study explored the effects of virtual reality on young children’s understanding of possibility and impossibility. It involved four-year-old children (30 boys and 30 girls) who were randomly allocated to a virtual reality group, a video group, or a picture book group. Each child was individually presented with three impossible and three matched possible events using their assigned medium. After each event, children were asked whether it was possible in real life and why/why not. Children in the VR group were more likely to correctly judge the possibility of possible events than children in the video group and they were more likely to incorrectly judge the possibility of impossible events than children in the video group. Furthermore, they were more likely to correctly judge the possibility of possible events than impossible events. The results suggest that virtual reality affects four-year-old children’s understanding of possibility and impossibility. Practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-172
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Volume14
Issue number2
Early online date1 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • children
  • cognitive development
  • fantasy
  • Google Cardboard
  • immersive technology
  • media richness
  • possibility
  • reality judgments
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication

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