Immersive Virtual Reality and the Developing Child

Bailey, J.O., & Bailenson, J.N. (2017).  Immersive virtual reality and the developing child.  In P. Brooks and F. Blumberg (Eds.), Cognitive Development in Digital Contexts (pp. 181-200).  San Diego, CA:  Elsevier.


Immersive virtual reality (IVR) pushes the limit of mediated experiences and digital representation by blocking out the physical world, and placing users directly into vivid and personal scenarios. This chapter provides an overview of IVR technology, and the way it relates to cognitive development, particularly during early childhood. We provide technological (i.e., tracking, rendering, embodiment of senses) and psychological (i.e., immersion vs. presence) definitions of IVR, and describe its unique attributes (i.e., the type of environments and the digital representation users can experience). We discuss how these unique attributes of IVR relate to topics of cognitive development such as executive functioning. Finally, we present trends in empirical research on children and IVR (i.e., areas of research, ages studied, sample sizes) and provide future research directions.