Published October 16, 2020 | Version Published
Journal article Open

Virtual Reality with 360-Video Storytelling in Cultural Heritage: Study of Presence, Engagement, and Immersion

  • 1. Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University, 60200 Brno, Czechia
  • 2. Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 3. 3DResearch S.r.l., 87036 Rende, Italy; (M.C.)
  • 4. Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering (DIMEG), University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
  • 5. 3DResearch S.r.l., 87036 Rende, Italy; (M.C.) and Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering (DIMEG), University of Calabria, 87036 Rende, Italy
  • 6. Photogrammetric Vision Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology, 3036 Limassol, Cyprus
  • 7. Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE), 1011 Nicosia, Cyprus


This paper presents a combined subjective and objective evaluation of an application mixing interactive virtual reality (VR) experience with 360 storytelling. The hypothesis that the modern immersive archaeological VR application presenting cultural heritage from a submerged site would sustain high levels of presence, immersion, and general engagement was leveraged in the investigation of the user experience with both the subjective (questionnaires) and the objective (neurophysiological recording of the brain signals using electroencephalography (EEG)) evaluation methods. Participants rated the VR experience positively in the questionnaire scales for presence, immersion, and subjective judgement. High positive rating concerned also the psychological states linked to the experience (engagement, emotions, and the state of flow), and the experience was mostly free from difficulties
linked to the accustomization to the VR technology (technology adoption to the head-mounted display and controllers, VR sickness). EEG results are in line with past studies examining brain responses to virtual experiences, while new results in the beta band suggest that EEG is a viable tool for future studies of presence and immersion in VR.


This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.



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iMARECULTURE – Advanced VR, iMmersive serious games and Augmented REality as tools to raise awareness and access to European underwater CULTURal heritagE. 727153
European Commission
RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission