The project is being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the DFG priority programme Auditory Cognition in Interactive Virtual Environments (AUDICTIVE). The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Chair for Hearing Technology and Acoustics (Prof. Janina Fels, RWTH Aachen) and the Department of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology (Prof. Maria Klatte, TU Kaiserslautern). (Website)

Project duration: January 2021 - December 2023

Project description

In the project "Evaluating cognitive performance in classroom scenarios using audiovisual virtual reality" (ECoClass-VR) we are investigating the suitability of audio-visual Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs) for a "real-world" assessment of the influence of the visuospatial and acoustic environment on cognitive performance of adults and children in classroom-type environments. Existing knowledge on the influence of environmental variables on cognitive performance in classrooms comes predominantly from auditory experimental paradigms with typically simple acoustic replications. So far, only limited attention has been paid to visual processing, without considering relevant audiovisual aspects.

To improve the validity of the research on cognitive performance in classroom-like scenarios, in ECoClass-VR it is planned to successively increase the realism of these paradigms with regard to cognitive tasks and audiovisual scenes. For this purpose, two existing research paradigms on different cognitive performances - selective attention and listening comprehension - will be transferred from their audio-only focus to IVE-based complex audiovisual scenes. In addition, a third paradigm specifically developed for auditory cognition research with IVEs is examined. This paradigm allows for an investigation of the performance of audiovisual scene analysis for scenes of varying complexity and is adapted to IVE-based research on classroom scenes.

The main target group of the research in ECoClass-VR will be children. Considering the sensitivity of this participant group for empirical research, at first adult subjects will be considered for the methodological research. Based on the evaluation of the initial three paradigms during the first part of the project, the most suitable paradigm for the prototypical final study with children will be identified.

Project partner:
RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Hearing Technology and Acoustics
TU Kaiserslautern, Department of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology

Project leader:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Raake

Project staff and contact person:
M.Sc. Stephan Fremerey