Illusions and Virtual Reality

Mar Gonzalez Franco, Ph.D., Microsoft AI & Research

In Virtual Reality (VR) it is possible to induce illusions that make people feel they have entered an alternate reality (place illusion), that the events happening are real (plausibility illusion), and even that their bodies have been substituted by an avatar (embodiment illusion). The feelings are so strong that participants respond realistically and adapt their behaviors. This is particularly interesting because: (i) it happens despite participants are aware of VR being a simulation, (ii) some of the events would never take place in reality.

In this talk we will review a wide set of illusory experiences that take place in VR and describe the underlying perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that enable the set of illusions.


Mar Gonzalez FrancoDr. Mar Gonzalez-Franco is a Researcher at Microsoft Research and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Experimental Virtual Environments for Neuroscience and Technology Lab (EVENT-Lab) in University of Barcelona. In her research she tries to achieve strong immersive experiences using different disciplines: Virtual Reality, computer graphics, computer vision and haptics. All while studying human behavior, perception and neuroscience to better understand: How our brain perceives our body? and What are the underlying mechanisms that determine what is real and what is not?

Before joining MSR she held several research positions both in academia: University College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University; and in industry: Airbus and Traity.