POSTEMOTION: Socio-emotional augmentation of human exodus to virtual reality

POSTEMOTION is a 4-year project funded by Academy of Finland, aspiring to develop new emotional intelligence (EA) augmentations in VR and analyse their effects.


The core team of our three scholars, with Juho Hamari as the principal investigator, will each lead a unique perspective during the research efforts. Simo Järvelä (cognitive science and psychophysiology) focusing on affective synchronisation of dyads and groups: Oğuz “Oz” Buruk (game wearables and haptics) designing the physical artefacts and investigating their effects, and Mila Bujić (anthropology and interactive gameful media) exploring the influence of VR representations of and on users.


The need to move human interaction into virtual spaces has been increasing steadily over the years – largely due to the climate crisis, which has forced us to rethink our lives, and recently the pandemic that changed the ways we work, play, and communicate. This digital exodus has gained momentum through developments in VR technology. 


Immersive VR and video games provide new affordances of social interaction that may prove more beneficial for collaboration, even compared to face-to-face interaction because games and VR are not limited only to what is “real” but can instead convey richer socio-affective information through e.g. visualizing measured biosignals as biofeedback to the users. Social VR allows for multimodal and multisensory digital representations facilitating meaningful co-existence, interactions, and collaborations. However, although these possible benefits of augmenting social interaction via VR have been hinted at by previous research,  we still lack concrete and in-depth knowledge in terms of implementing augmented EA to VR environments in a holistic way by taking into account critical aspects such as embodiment, tactility and various bodily information. Thus, the goal is not only to compensate for the lack of socio-emotional cues but also to complement means of interaction by technological solutions and adaptations.