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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes and evaluates experimental approaches to situational research with an emphasis on virtual reality (VR). First, it outlines different methods to partition variance in person and situation perception and to highlight the advantages of experimental studies as a fixed-effect design. Next, the chapter weighs the merits of some commonly employed methods to standardize situations in experimental settings. The core of the chapter is devoted to VR. After a brief historical and conceptual introduction, it discusses the value of VR as a research tool in terms of internal and external validity. Subsequently, it shows how VR can aid the study of person-situation interactions by using a virtual replication of Stanley Milgram’s conformity study. Finally, it reviews recent studies that have pushed the boundaries of VR and enumerates the challenges yet to be overcome in the field. In sum, the chapter aims to provide a succinct and encouraging primer on the use of VR for situation research.

Keywords: virtual reality, fixed-situation, experimental design, interindividual effects, variance partitioning

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