Moving On Up: Investigating the Embodied Metaphor of Verticality and its Effect on Overconfidence
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As investment in Virtual Reality (VR) continues, we sought to better understand the unique value proposition this technology has to offer by testing the impact of a virtually embodied metaphor on self-evaluation. In both experiments, participants completed multiple trivia rounds after experiencing different levels of verticality. We investigated whether the embodied metaphor of UP = better would then affect their overconfidence, measured as the difference between how well they estimated their own performance to be and how well they actually scored. In Experiment 1, we compared this effect between three different mediums: mental imagery, video, and VR, hypothesizing that the ascending VR condition would yield greater overconfidence scores. We speculated that VR, by engaging the body to a greater extent than the other two mediums, provides a mechanism through which the full effect of an embodied metaphor can activate. Our results did not support this hypothesis: we found no statistically significant difference in overconfidence scores between mediums in Experiment 1. However, Experiment 1 results did support our predictions that people perceive themselves to be more embodied in VR than they would be watching a video or imagining a scene. In a follow-up study with only mental imagery, Experiment 2, we found no main effect for contextual cues given during the experiment. There was a significant difference between ascending and descending conditions, however, counter to what we predicted: participants had higher overconfidence scores in the descending conditions. We discuss issues in the field of embodied metaphor research and suggest alternative routes for investigating metaphors in VR. In light of the growing interest in employing VR as a research tool, we discuss Experiment 1 methodologies, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of conducting experimental research in VR.
Cite this version of the work
Anna Murynka (2023). Moving On Up: Investigating the Embodied Metaphor of Verticality and its Effect on Overconfidence. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19056