VR + Psych

Importance of Emotion Design in Multimedia Emerging Technologies for Children and Teen Emotional Management

Virtual environments hold the potential to tailor unique experiences that boost emotional introspection and increase control (emotional management) via simulated exposure. In this way VR experiences can be used as support dynamics in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) resulting in longer-lasting effects, and may be particularly more effective with younger demographics because of their level of familiarity with technological media. (Hetsevich, 2016). This paper aims to take a deeper look in the role of emotional design to tailor virtual experiences that elicit positive emotional responses in accordance with the tenants of SEL (Social emotional learning) based programs. I discuss the creation of a novel Virtual Reality experience for the Oculus platform that uses a musical and artistic expression to place the user’s emotions into perspective. By facilitating self-expression, experiential learning, and the immersive praxis of SEL Theory, this research aims to demonstrate the potential benefits of incorporating emotional design with multimedia technologies. Said benefits can have a strong psychological effect on young teens and complement their developmental education.
About the Author
Camila Bohorquez

Maria Camila is a Digital Advertiser with a postgraduate degree in design management, which has led her to build a career across varied multimedia media disciplines like marketing, social media management, web design, strategic planning, and campaign management. Because of this she has taken interest in the production aspect of these fields and is currently building more and more skills in the techniques necessary for any digital project development, such as image editing, branding, 3d modelling, XR development, and photography. She has experience working in communication and media for many different organizations, which include an astronomical observatory, magazines, and healthcare provider auditing firm always with the aim of optimizing their processes and improving their output platforms to reach more customers. She hopes to collaborate in the development of future projects and be able to start new ones of her own that are of aid for people.

About the Project

In recent years, Socio Emotional Skill education has gained prominence as a means of educating younger students. In order to mitigate the adverse effects of sociocultural issues (abuse, gang violence, underaged pregnancies etc.) it is necessary to equip vulnerable youth with a mindset that allows them to develop, manage, and propagate healthy emotional connections with themselves and people around them. Facilitating the learning of appropriate coping mechanisms as well as problem solving techniques in a class is key to students being able to apply them later in their adult life. For an experience to be emotionally impactful it is necessary to tailor that experience with design characteristics that have an appeal beyond the aesthetic.  By using principles of Emotion Design and User Experience we can deliver a transformative learning experience. Adding design scopes to sociocultural elements like the use of culturally-familiar rhythm and musical instruments inside a Virtual Reality platform like the Oculus Quest, this project aims to create an immersive Digital experience whose augmented sense of presence facilitates the teaching of (SES) Socio Emotional Skills in Young kids and teens from vulnerable populations.

Screenshots from the Oculus game demo.

The pandemic changed everything! From the project to our very ideas of the future and plans for it, not only did we have to find new ways to bring it to fruition but also to validate it. It gained importance, as remote tools are even more important in the new normal. Emotions are also now of greater importance, just like education and VR experiences -- but the most important thing we have gained from working in this endeavor during these times is the ability to thrive and adapt via the digital medium. We can employ digital tools to create another digital tool for the benefit of others. This is the neo normal cycle where we can visualize issues and use our knowledge and technology to solve them. Noticing these vulnerabilities and going through the struggles help us to pinpoint clear solutions for the future.