Stereoscopic Rendering via Goggles Elicits Higher Functional Connectivity During Virtual Reality Gaming

Caroline Garcia Forlim, Lukas Bittner, Fariba Mostajeran, Frank Steinicke, Jürgen Gallinat, Simone Kühn
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , Volume 13, Number 365 - oct 2019
Virtual reality (VR) simulates real-world scenarios by creating a sense of presence in its users. Such immersive scenarios lead to behavior that is more similar to that displayed in real world settings, which may facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills acquired in VR to similar real world situations. VR has already been used in education, psychotherapy, rehabilitation and it comes as an appealing choice for training intervention purposes. The aim of the present study was to investigate to what extent VR technology for games presented via goggles can be used in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner (MRI), addressing the question of whether brain connectivity differs between VR stimulation via goggles and a presentation from a screen via mirror projection. Moreover, we wanted to investigate whether stereoscopic goggle stimulation, where both eyes receive different visual input, would elicit stronger brain connectivity than a stimulation in which both eyes receive the same visual input (monoscopic). To our knowledge, there is no previous research using games and functional connectivity (FC) in MRI to address this question. Multiple analyses approaches were taken so that different aspects of brain connectivity could be covered: fractional low-frequency fluctuation, independent component analysis (ICA), seed-based FC (SeedFC) and graph analysis. In goggle presentation (mono and stereoscopic) as contrasted to screen, we found differences in brain activation in left cerebellum and postcentral gyrus as well as differences in connectivity in the visual cortex and frontal inferior cortex [when focusing on the visual and default mode network (DMN)]. When considering connectivity in specific areas of interest, we found higher connectivity between bilateral superior frontal cortex and the temporal lobe, as well as bilateral inferior parietal cortex with right calcarine and right lingual cortex. Furthermore, we found superior frontal cortex and insula/putamen to be more strongly connected in goggle stereoscopic vs. goggle monoscopic, in line with our hypothesis. We assume that the condition that elicits higher brain connectivity values should be most suited for long-term brain training interventions given that, extended training under these conditions could permanently improve brain connectivity on a functional as well as on a structural level.

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BibTex references

  author       = "Forlim, Caroline Garcia and Bittner, Lukas and Mostajeran, Fariba and Steinicke, Frank and Gallinat, Jürgen and Kühn, Simone",
  title        = "Stereoscopic Rendering via Goggles Elicits Higher Functional Connectivity During Virtual Reality Gaming",
  journal      = "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience ",
  number       = "365",
  volume       = "13",
  month        = "oct",
  year         = "2019",
  keywords     = "virtual reality, stereoscopic and monoscopic goggles, fMRI, seed-based functional connectivity, fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations, resting-state networks, ICA, graph analysis",
  url          = ""

Other publications in the database

» Lukas Bittner
» Fariba Mostajeran
» Frank Steinicke
» Jürgen Gallinat
» Simone Kühn