Haptic feedback in a virtual crowd scenario improves the emotional response

R. K. Venkatesan, Domna Banakou, Mel Slater, Manivannan M

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that incorporating haptics into virtual environments can increase sensory fidelity and provide powerful and immersive experiences. However, current studies on haptics in virtual interactions primarily focus on one-on-one scenarios, while kinesthetic haptic interactions in large virtual gatherings are underexplored. This study aims to investigate the impact of kinesthetic haptics on eliciting emotional responses within crowded virtual reality (VR) scenarios. Specifically, we examine the influence of type or quality of the haptic feedback on the perception of positive and negative emotions. We designed and developed different combinations of tactile and torque feedback devices and evaluated their effects on emotional responses. To achieve this, we explored different combinations of haptic feedback devices, including “No Haptic,” “Tactile Stimulus” delivering tactile cues, and “Haptic Stimulus” delivering tactile and torque cues, in combination with two immersive 360-degree video crowd scenarios, namely, “Casual Crowd” and “Aggressive Crowd.” The results suggest that varying the type or quality of haptic feedback can evoke different emotional responses in crowded VR scenarios. Participants reported increased levels of nervousness with Haptic Stimulus in both virtual scenarios, while both Tactile Stimulus and Haptic Stimulus were negatively associated with pleasantness and comfort during the interaction. Additionally, we observed that participants’ sense of touch being real was enhanced in Haptic Stimulus compared to Tactile Stimulus. The “Haptic Stimulus” condition had the most positive influence on participants’ sense of identification with the crowd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1242587
JournalFrontiers in Virtual Reality
StatePublished - 2023


  • 360-degree video
  • haptic display
  • haptic feedback
  • multimodal virtual environment
  • simulating emotions
  • virtual collisions
  • virtual crowd
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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