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Personality and Listening Sensitivity Correlates of the Subjective Response to Real and Simulated Sound Sources in Virtual Reality

It has been reported that personality traits, such as empathy and the tendency to become immersed in tasks, correlate with increased experience of presence in virtual reality. However, it is not clear whether this translates directly to the experience of externalisation of spatially rendered audio in virtual environments. The aim of this work is to investigate if such relationships exist by comparing evaluations of the spatial quality of audio in a virtual reality based externalisation test with personality and cognitive factors including empathy, systematisation, visual precedence, and sensitivity to aural differences. It was found that when audio was rated as originating from a real source, aural sensitivity was the most signi?cant factor, and was correlated with increased reported externalisation. Conversely, when audio was rated as originating from headphones, greater immersive tendencies were associated with increased awareness of the arti?cial origin of the sound. The results suggest that psychological aspects which are related to the experience of presence in virtual reality are not the same as those which are associated with the experience of perceiving audio as an externalised event.

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