Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Dooley Murphy

Dooley Murphy

PhD fellow

My PhD project investigates visual attention in virutal reality (VR).

Specifically, I'm interested in how simple, seemingly unremarkable environmental features may guide the user's eye in subtle yet dependable ways. To investigate this, I'm cross-referencing ideas from vision science, audiovisual media case studies, and experimental eye tracking data. Case study-wise, I'm looking at how viewer attention was/is guided in early, classical, and contemporary cinema; video games, VR games, and narrative VR, as well as in theatre and theme park design. Following this, I'll devise and test a handful of principles and hypotheses concerning user attention and behaviour in narrative 360° scenes. Eye tracking and postural data should validate or invalidate said hypotheses. Output from the project—which concludes in late 2021—will include recommendations on best practice for VR environment design. Findings will be applicable to VR's myriad use cases in and across healthcare, fundraising, training and education, entertainment, architecture and visualisation, and communication. A medium-specific understanding of attention, I believe, is a vital step in enabling VR creators to maximise the experience of their users and viewers.

My past research has looked at mobile and social media, video game player experience, VR's transition from lab-grade equipment to consumer entertainment, virtual humans, and, more broadly, user cognition and experience in audiovisual and interactive media.

Elements of my research are practice-based, which is to say in my spare time I make VR experiences that occupy the weird gulf between art and entertainment.

I've taught BA and MA courses in cognition and audiovisual media, video game (design) theory, and guest lectured on VR filmmaking.

I'm a member of the Cognition and Audiovisual Media (CAM) research group at the University of Copenhagen's South Campus, the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), and the Society of the Cogntive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI).

Supervisor: Andreas Gregersen

ID: 172782706