by Keith Hullfish
Future research should be directed to examining the reliability of this test and this particular outcome. For instance, studies should confirm that cognitive effort is a characteristic of memories from Imagined environments using other manipulations of cognitive effort. One reason the current manipulation is interesting is that "it approximates the common naturally occurring situation in which there is some perceptual support for imagination (Finke et al., 1988)." Other tasks may also be used which challenge people to operate within the limitations of the technology. This could maximize their sensitivity to any possible artifacts. Expectations may be manipulated to examine any unexpected biases.
Future research could also use this experiment's outcome as a benchmark. First, the limitations of the technology (e.g., field-of-view, resolution) could be manipulated to examine its effects on the monitoring process. Constraining the experience in this way may come at a cost. It could leave artifacts which would betray the experience's true origin. One of these artifacts may be cognitive effort, which has been shown to exist in the decision process. This affords designers of virtual realities an opportunity to examine the tradeoffs in achieving realistic simulations. By finding an artifact's threshold of detection, this methodology could help build better virtual realities.
These types of studies may also be useful to explore related concepts which rely on the quality of information that is remembered and/or perceived within a virtual environment. The qualities of memories are also important in training in or learning from virtual environments. Since the Virtual Reality Monitoring decision process defines a measure of "realism" for a virtual reality, it can be correlated with transfer-of-training measures in order to determine if learning benefits from the degree of realism of the simulation.