Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Fredrick, David

Committee Member/Reader

Brown, Mitch

Committee Member/Second Reader

Zabelina, Darya

Committee Member/Third Reader

Rulli, Richard


The overall effectiveness of virtual environments is often linked to and measured by degrees of presence, commonly defined as the psychological sensation of “being there” (Schubert et al., 1999). Psychologists agree that attention and involvement through interactivity play a role in presence (Hartmann et al., 2015; Schubert et al., 1999; Witmer and Singer, 1998). Because attention is critical in encoding information into memory storage, looking at how memory relates to presence is another topic of interest. In this study, participants (N = 30) played through a 3D virtual reconstruction of a Pompeian house under one of two conditions: free-roam and task-oriented. No significant difference emerged between the conditions for feelings of presence. There was also no difference between conditions in terms of memory recognition of the virtual environment. However, as predicted, a significant difference emerged for the memory recall test, as participants in the interactive task-oriented condition exhibited higher accuracy in vase placement relative to the original target locations compared to the free-roam condition. This difference suggests improved memory recall due to interactivity rather than presence.


Presence, Virtual Environments, Memory, Interactivity, Attention