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Experimental Economics in Virtual Reality

Gürerk, Özgür and Bönsch, Andrea and Braun, Lucas and Grund, Christian and Harbring, Christine and Kittsteiner, Thomas and Staffeldt, Andreas (2014): Experimental Economics in Virtual Reality.

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Recent developments in virtual reality (VR) technology have the potential to revolutionize the way economists do experimental research. With Oculus’ light and affordable head mounted display (HMD) human subjects can literally move and use objects in virtual spaces and interact with others. This technology as well as surround-screen projection systems like CAVEs (Cruz-Neira et al. 1994), allow the experimenter to observe economically relevant behavior and social interaction in a highly immersive and at the same time tightly controlled virtual environment. More than other disciplines, economics focuses on the evaluation of counterfactual scenarios which help to analyze strategic decisions and their efficiency effects. In this note, by means of three examples, we illustrate how experiments in highly IVEs can add value to experimental economics and benefit economic research.

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