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Ecological Validity of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) Techniques for the Perception of Urban Sound Environments

Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, The Bartlett, University College London, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0NN, UK
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Acoustics 2021, 3(1), 11-24; https://doi.org/10.3390/acoustics3010003
Received: 17 November 2020 / Revised: 21 December 2020 / Accepted: 23 December 2020 / Published: 25 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Featured Review in Acoustics Science)
Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) is a simulated technology used to deliver multisensory information to people under different environmental conditions. When IVR is generally applied in urban planning and soundscape research, it reveals attractive possibilities for the assessment of urban sound environments with higher immersion for human participation. In virtual sound environments, various topics and measures are designed to collect subjective responses from participants under simulated laboratory conditions. Soundscape or noise assessment studies during virtual experiences adopt an evaluation approach similar to in situ methods. This paper aims to review the approaches that are utilized to assess the ecological validity of IVR for the perception of urban sound environments and the necessary technologies during audio–visual reproduction to establish a dynamic IVR experience that ensures ecological validity. The review shows that, through the use of laboratory tests including subjective response surveys, cognitive performance tests and physiological responses, the ecological validity of IVR can be assessed for the perception of urban sound environments. The reproduction system with head-tracking functions synchronizing spatial audio and visual stimuli (e.g., head-mounted displays (HMDs) with first-order Ambisonics (FOA)-tracked binaural playback) represents the prevailing trend to achieve high ecological validity. These studies potentially contribute to the outcomes of a normalized evaluation framework for subjective soundscape and noise assessments in virtual environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecological validity; virtual reality; sound environment; soundscape; sound environment perception ecological validity; virtual reality; sound environment; soundscape; sound environment perception
MDPI and ACS Style

Xu, C.; Oberman, T.; Aletta, F.; Tong, H.; Kang, J. Ecological Validity of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) Techniques for the Perception of Urban Sound Environments. Acoustics 2021, 3, 11-24. https://doi.org/10.3390/acoustics3010003

AMA Style

Xu C, Oberman T, Aletta F, Tong H, Kang J. Ecological Validity of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) Techniques for the Perception of Urban Sound Environments. Acoustics. 2021; 3(1):11-24. https://doi.org/10.3390/acoustics3010003

Chicago/Turabian Style

Xu, Chunyang; Oberman, Tin; Aletta, Francesco; Tong, Huan; Kang, Jian. 2021. "Ecological Validity of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) Techniques for the Perception of Urban Sound Environments" Acoustics 3, no. 1: 11-24. https://doi.org/10.3390/acoustics3010003

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