Studying Effects of Muscle Representations and Levels of Interactivity in a Virtual Reality Canine Thoracic Limb Application
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Virtual Reality, or VR, is at the forefront of modern technology; revolutionizing current methods for conducting activities such as gaming, training simulations, business meetings, and even teaching. When considering anatomy education specifically, students must learn form, function, and movement of various bones, muscles, muscle tendons, ligaments, and joints within the body. Cadaver dissection is believed to be the most optimal form of study, but it is not always the most accessible form of study. We propose a VR canine thoracic limb application that allows students to learn about musculoskeletal movements while also enhancing spatial visualization abilities in the hope of increasing memory retention in a more fun, engaging way. In our study, three major factors were considered: (1) spatial visualization ability of learners, (2) visualization styles of muscles, and (3) interactivity of the application. Participants of differing spatial abilities (high and low) will study a virtual thoracic limb in one of two visual conditions (realistic muscles or symbolic muscles) and one of two interactive conditions (interactive manipulation or non-interactive viewing). We plan to test these against each other to determine which method of muscle representation holds the most effective form of memory retention, and what role interactivity plays in this retention. Before the experiment, we will gather data pertaining to student’s spatial visualization ability via a mental rotation test to create a baseline. After the experiment, we will interview the participant to gather qualitative data about the application’s effectiveness and usability. Our results should show overall, based on our hypothesis, that the more realistic and interactive the application is, the more retention there should be. Both the quantitative data from the experiment, and the qualitative data from the post experiment should support this hypothesis. Regardless of which condition shows to be more successful, we hope to revolutionize teaching methods, practices, and even test taking applications for anatomy students with this virtual reality teaching application.
Heymann, Benjamin Z (2017). Studying Effects of Muscle Representations and Levels of Interactivity in a Virtual Reality Canine Thoracic Limb Application. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from