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					                                      TO: National Science Foundation - Office of Cyber Infrastructure
                                      FROM: Virtual Environment Risk Analysis Project Team (VERA Project)
                                      DATE: 4/22/09
                                      SUBJECT: Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems Grant




Dr. Brian Ryherd
Iowa State University                 On behalf of the Virtual Environment Risk Analysis (VERA) research team I am pleased to
Virtual Reality Applications Center   present this proposal for your review. We look forward to the opportunity of partnering with
1346 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50010                      the National Science Foundation in our strive for technological and sociological research. We
T 515-234-9864                        have put forth our research plans, and hope to begin our experimentation as soon as
F 515-234-1235
brian.ryherd@veraproject.net
                                      possible.
veraproject.net
                                      In the past, there has been little research done regarding social interactions in virtual
                                      environments, particularly social risks in those settings. Some research has been applied to
                                      physical risks with computer animations versus real world engagements, and we plan to
                                      expand on that research.

                                      Our research will focus on certain risks which people choose to take in virtual worlds in
                                      comparison to real world situations. One experiment will show the differences in physical
                                      risks which people partake in by having students conduct a simple procedure on either a
                                      computer animated patient or a patient seen via video. The second experiment will provide
                                      information regarding social risks taken by study participants. This experiment will hopefully
                                      aid in the use of virtual worlds for a variety of aspects of business, education, and science.

                                      We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical
                                      Systems program, and hope to continue this cooperation in the future.




                                      Thank You,




                                      Dr. Brian Ryherd
                                      Principal Investigator, VERA Project
                                        NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION                  123 Federal Building
                                                Office of Cyber Infrastructure        Denver, CO 88830

                                                                                     T 827-282-9753
                                                                                     patrick.grantgiver@nsf.gov

                                                                                     NSF.gov




April 8, 2009
Dr. Brian Ryherd
Iowa State University
Virtual Reality Application Center
Ames, Iowa 50010


Dear Dr. Brian Ryherd,

Your request ( Solicitation #432-JHG-1234-001) to deviate from NSF proposal guidelines (Fastlane GPG Guide)
has been approved. In the submission of SF 424 Documents will not be required and the 15 page limit is in-
creased to 30 pages. Please be aware that the proposal must include the following sections:

• Cover Sheet
• Project Summary
• Project Plan
• Qualifications
• Budget
• Project Outcomes
    • Deliverables
    • Dissemination Plan



Pursuant with Office of Cyber Infrastructure Policy: Proposals must include an authorization to deviate from
standard NSF proposal preparation instructions has been received in one of the following ways, as appropriate:
(a) by identifying the solicitation number that authorized the deviation in the appropriate block on the Cover
Sheet; or (b) for individual deviations, by identifying the name, date and title of the NSF official authorizing the
deviation. Further instructions are available on the FastLane website.



Authorization Number: 1029384756_001



Sincerely yours,



Patrick Grantgiver




	                                                          	
                                                                                 "Virtual environments create a relatively unique 3-dimensional
                                                                                 space that can be used for collaboration, decision-making,
                                                                                 entertainment, social engagement, and other forms of com-
                                                                                 munication. Although sharing commonalities with traditional
                                                                                 mediated communication tools such as email, instant mes-
                                                                                 saging, video conferencing, teleconferencing, and discussion
                                                                                 forums, a virtual environment creates a unique realm where
                                                                                 the user has the opportunity to leverage the spatial aspect of
                                                                                 communication by re-creating the experience of physical
                                                                                 proximity thereby enhancing interaction."


                                                                                                                          - Dr. Brian Mennecke
                                                                                                             Embodied Social Presence Theory




VOSS Project Proposal

Prepared for: National Science Foundation Office of Cyber Infrastructure
Prepared by: Dr. Brian Ryherd, Dr. Dillan Laughlin, Dr. Tom Hummer, and Dr. Rebecca Burch

April 22, 2009
Proposal number: 123-4567

IRB Certification: 123-XV-484721 (Date: 12/20/2008)
NSF Solicitation / Deviation Request: #432-JHG-1234-001




Iowa State University - Virtual Reality Applications Center   Ames, Iowa 50010    T 515-234-0987 F 515-234-0977   www.veraproject.net
Table of Contents

Project Summary
                                                    3
Background Information
                                             4
  The Rise of Virtual Reality
                                      4
  Behavioral Differences between Virtual and Real Environments 
    5
  Need For Further Research
                                        7
Plan
                                                               9
 Summary
                                                           9
  Institutional Review Board Clearance
                             9
 Physical Risk Study
                                               9
  Preparation
                                                     10
  Execution
                                                       10
  Potential Implications 
                                         11
 Social Risk Study
                                                11
  Preparation
                                                     11
  Execution
                                                       12
  Potential Implications 
                                         12
Qualifications
                                                     13
 Biographical Sketches
                                            13
Budget
                                                            15


                             
                                      1
 Personnel
                               15
 Direct Costs
                            15
 Indirect Costs
                          16
Project Outcomes
                         17
 Deliverables and Dissemination
          17
 Broader Impact of Project VERA
          17
 Summary
                                 19
Next Steps
                               19
References
                               20
Appendix
                                 21
 Appendix A
                              21
  VERA Project Budget
                    21
 Appendix B 
                             22
  Appendix B-CV1 - Dr. Brian Ryherd
      22
  Appendix B-CV2 - Dr. Tom Hummer
        23
  Appendix B-CV3 - Dr. Dillan Laughlin
   24
  Appendix B-CV4 - Dr. Rebecca Burch
     25




                           
               2
Project Summary

Since the advent of internet technology, online communication has increased dramatically and
advances in virtual reality have made online interactions more and more complex. Web
communities have exploded in popularity, with applications spanning from virtual gaming worlds to
business meetings. In professional contexts such as business meetings, the implications of
human-computer interaction is critical. Some virtual situations lead people to interact and behave
differently than they would in similar but real circumstances. Research conducted on these virtual
worlds has only focused on discovering which situations and settings are more likely to provoke
behaviors that differ from their real-time counterparts. Research regarding human interaction in
virtual worlds has been very limited. To address the shortcomings in previous studies, the Virtual
Environment Risk Analysis Project aims to study the behavioral differences between real world and
virtual environments, particularly as they pertain to risk-taking behavior. We will take a multi-faceted
approach to the our research to determine the factors that influence decision making in terms of
physical and social risk. As we will demonstrate below, successful completion of the VERA Project
will lead to advances across a broad spectrum of industries and academic research.




                             
                                                                         3
Background Information

To understand the need for the information provided by the VERA Project, we first must
understand the current applications and related research in the area of Human Computer
Interaction. Studies have shown that, in general, people are more willing to take more risks in virtual
worlds as compared to real life. However, these studies make no distinction to the contributing
factors of a person's behavior across environments. In order to fill this gap in previous research we
must also examine how virtual worlds are used today, what their existing limitations are, and what
potential causes are suspected to have led to these limitations.

The Rise of Virtual Reality
Virtual technology is currently used first and foremost for entertainment. Whether the game is
World of Warcraft, The Sims, or Second Life, people enjoy having the real aspects of social
interaction with the risk-free, consequence-free physical aspects of the digital realm. Since there
are limitless ways to interact with others virtually, and most of those interactions have minimal
consequences, it is easy to see why this form of entertainment is so popular today.

Another application for these virtual worlds lies in our endless pursuit for knowledge. Virtual worlds
can give anyone with internet access a chance to go places and be in situations that might not be
possible in the real world. For example, in the virtual world “Second Life” people can go to an
island and see spacecrafts, and perhaps even fly these spacecrafts to see how they work. The
opportunity to discuss space travel with others who are so highly interested in it comes much
easier when the only distance one has to travel is to the computer chair. Another island allows
people to change an ecosystem in any way they want, then view the effects of their changes.
Learning opportunities like this are not available in the real world, for obvious reasons.

Although real attempts at teaching in these virtual worlds may be more difficult in some ways than
in the real world due to a lack of emotional interaction, the opportunities for learning are
undeniable. For this reason, the use of virtual worlds for teaching has been expanding for some
time. Teachers or tutors can interact with students in virtual worlds in an attempt to provide

                             
                                                                           4
academic support. Past studies have shown that students rely on positive interactions with their
mentors which coincide with the materials they have been provided to learn with. Students with
these positive interactions tend to learn at a better rate. However, these interactions are
undoubtedly different if they take place in a virtual world. Students must be able to trust their
teachers, and the teacher must be able to recognize emotion in a student. If the student does not
have trust in their teacher, learning becomes a much more difficult process. If a teacher can see in
a student's emotions that they are not understanding the material, the teacher can intervene with
an added dose of help.

Virtual worlds have also been used for skills training. Aspiring pilots have been using flight
simulators for years, and Marines have been known to use combat simulators. Medical students
have also used this medium in learning how to do certain operations. These applications have also
been blurred into the entertainment genre, but it is important to remember that their original
purpose was to aid in honing a specific skill that could be used in real life.

Business meetings have also been conducted in virtual environments. With today's lifestyle
becoming more hectic by the hour, it can sometimes be more convenient for businesspeople to
bring virtual representations of themselves together than it would be to coordinate physically being
in the same place at the same time. This application is not very common, but it is not unheard of.

In summary, virtual technology already has numerous applications spanning from entertainment to
education, and potential areas of application are even more extensive. However, research
regarding human interaction in virtual worlds has been very limited. Our project will help clarify how
those potential applications can be developed and used. We will examine how behavior changes
in virtual environments, as well as how individual characteristics contribute to these changes in
behavior.

Behavioral Differences between Virtual and Real Environments

Physical Interaction
Simulation of physical actions has been largely untouched and remains open to further
investigation. A recent study by Pierce (2009) indicated that people are more prone to high-risk
physical behavior in virtual worlds than in the real world. In the study a participant was asked to
observe a virtual or real-life person performing the simple task of slicing a cucumber. In the
experiment participants observed the first two slices and were then asked to determine where the


                             
                                                                         5
next slice would be made. The risk was presented by using the knife very close to the finger of the
virtual/real-world person, presenting the risk of cutting the finger. However, the study gave no
insight regarding causes for this behavior, nor did it account for differences in the type of risk being
taken (social risk and empathy vs. physical).

As pointed out by Girod et al. (2001), already-existing preoperative simulations for delicate facial
surgeries are known to be accurate. If these computer simulations are so accurate, Girod and
colleagues ask why this tool has not been transferred to performing the operation as well. Gorman
et al. (1999) suggests that medical students use simulations for situations they would not normally
encounter or situations that cannot be safely practiced in real situations. Medical students trained
on a simulator for intravenous catheter placement showed improvements in the simulator, but were
unable to effectively transfer those skills over to the real world (Greenleaf 1996). Similarly, Chopra
et al. (1994) showed that anesthesiologists trained on a simulator were more apt in handling
emergencies on the simulator than in real life. This finding still requires validation.

Social Interaction
In social psychology research computer-mediated collaboration and discussion has been
associated with lower interactions, less argument, and slower decision-making (Applegate et al.
1986; McGuire et al. 1987; Watson 1988). Losada et al. (1990) found that computer-mediated
meetings, with all members connected through virtual technology, reduced the socio-emotional
interactions by half. On the other hand, a complete lack of computer-mediated collaboration also
reduced the socio-emotional interactions. The study established a bell curve relationship with
maximum socio-emotional interactions occurring when both computers and physical reality
connect people.

According to a study by Burgoon et al. (2000), communication depends largely on interactivity. This
can be broken down into individual involvement or presence, mutuality between individuals or a
team concept, and individuation or a sense of self. Several major factors of communication have
been noted to differ between virtual and face-to-face interaction: credibility, understanding, and
influence (Burgoon et al. 2000). Generally, people tend to trust pictures more than words. A
shocking announcement on television seems more believable than the same story in a newspaper.
People also tend to place more trust in entities with anthropomorphic characters. In other words, a
person face to face is more trustworthy than a computer, and a virtual computer face is more
believable than written words. This inherent hierarchy of trust implies that virtual meetings may


                             
                                                                           6
benefit from a simulation of face to face interaction. Understanding can be an issue when
communication becomes virtual. Humans rely heavily on nonverbal signs, such as facial
expressions, body posture, and gestures. Inclusion of nonverbal actions in virtual communication
presents a major challenge to technology development. Shapiro and McDonald (1992, cited in
Burgoon et al.) showed that people tend to give media undue credibility. Credibility also seems to
increase as more "modalities" or sensory channels become available to convey information.
Together, the factors of credibility, understanding, and influence all reinforce one another.

Clearly there are myriad of variables to be accounted for when looking at what causes these
fluctuations in behavior. This can make research extremely difficult: but not impossible. When
approached correctly, we can figure out the degree in which each of these factors affects this
change in behavior, and also how true people are to their own personality while interacting with
others in virtual environments. Part of our project will focus on these psychological aspects. The
VERA Project research will help determine what types of personalities/people act differently and
how, and in what situations they behave in a different way.

Need For Further Research
The world we live in is always finding new ways to integrate technology into our daily lives. Our
society has been using applications of virtual reality for years, but new applications are constantly
emerging. People may be directly representing themselves, or perhaps a fictionalized character, in
a setting that can range from fighting dragons to conducting real-time business meetings.

Regardless of the authenticity of the situation, people are likely to put some of their own traits into
these virtual representations. No matter how accurate or fabricated they are, the user realizes that
they have control of the character and will therefore make decisions in the virtual world loosely
based on what they would do in the real world. At the same time, however, the user knows that it
is not the real world, and with consequences being only as real as the situation that presents them,
they will not act exactly the same.

So where is this line drawn? How can we determine the exact difference between a person’s
actions in the real world and that same person’s actions in a virtual world? Unfortunately, the
answer is not as simple as plugging numbers into an equation. An extensive amount of factors
must be taken into account in order to accurately predict what these differences will be. These
factors may include the situation itself, what consequences different choices will lead to, and many



                             
                                                                            7
others that will be entirely exclusive to the individual, such as gender, age, IQ, how much sleep they
got the night before, etc. Once we measure these variables and compare them with the observed
results, we can create an accurate hypothesis explaining what factors affect this behavior and to
what degree.

In conclusion, many similarities and differences exist between the way people act in a virtual world
and the way people act in the real world. In common situations, people treat others with the same
etiquette in the virtual world as they would in a real setting. What has yet to be discovered is when
people will act the same, when they are willing to take risks that they might not take in real life, and
under what conditions these behaviors occur. The rapid onset of virtual communication
technology "places a premium" on understanding the implications of its use. Research has only
begun recently, and a great deal more must be known before the technology can be effectively
used in the workplace. In the context of business communication in particular, behavioral changes
must be foreseen, understood, accounted for, and managed. As Burgoon et al. (2000) stated,
"whether these differential benefits generalize to other kinds of tasks and interactions remains to be
seen." So as our lives continue to become more and more technology-dependent, it is important to
know how we will be affected every step of the way. The only way to adapt to these changes is to
anticipate them and react accordingly, and in order to do this as a society, we must take a step
forward and become self-aware enough to know how our mindsets differ in virtual situations. For
these reasons, we feel that it is crucial to do research in this field, so that as the real world and the
virtual world continue to intertwine, our society can be ready for it.




                             
                                                                             8
Plan

Summary
Previous research has pointed to differing mindsets in virtual environments, but no investigation has
been conducted into the specific factors that influence behavior. To fill this research gap the VERA
Project will conduct research into cognitive risk perception across virtual and real-world
environments. VERA Project research into the amount of risk a person is willing to take in a virtual
environment is multi-dimensional. The two most important factors are the perceived physical risk
and the perceived social risk in a persons virtual interactions. Through our social experiment we
discover if those same physical differences transfer over to social and societal differences. Does a
person act more aggressive when interacting with others in a virtual world than he or she would
under normal conditions? Or does a person tend to follow their same social order in a virtual
world? We have isolated these variables into two independent studies outlined below.

Institutional Review Board Clearance
The Iowa State University Review Board has certified that the VERA Project is in compliance with
the Federal Government's "Common Rule" for the protection of human subjects.

   IRB Certification Number: 123-XV-484721

   Date of Certification: 12/20/2008


Physical Risk Study
Computer driven simulations are rapidly growing in popularity as a method of training people in
preparation to complete real world tasks. Pilots use flight simulators as a learning tool, often times
long before they set foot inside the cockpit of a commercial airliner. Likewise doctors learn
fundamental endoscopic surgical techniques in computer-powered simulators, spending countless
hours practicing, long before they perform their first procedure. Advances in cognitive sciences




                            
                                                                           9
have shown that risk perception and a persons actions are tightly coupled. What remains to be
determined is how these physical risks differ between environments.

    Research Question: How does physical risk-taking behavior differ in real world environments
    vs. virtual world environments?

    Hypothesis: We hypothesize that study participants will be more likely to take larger physical
    risks in virtual environments than they would in real-world environments.

Preparation
In each scenario the task is to perform a very basic endoscopic surgery through robotic controls.
Simulated environments are created prior to conducting testing using computer-generated 3D
models for one, and an endoscopic camera implanted in a human cadaver. All research is
conducted under the guise that the surgery is being performed on a real patient in order to control
levels of empathy between the participant and the patient. This guise is necessary for experimental
control of emotional factors in the collection of valid data.

Execution
Participants in the study will be asked to perform simple parallel tasks in computer-generated
environments and video-based environments, both shown from a first person view. By measuring a
participants intended incision point we will quantify these differences in risky behavior between
computer-generated environments and video-based environments. Volunteer medical students are
selected to participate in this study and split into two groups. The participant joins the surgical
procedure already in progress. Moving towards an apparent goal, a research assistant will
demonstrate the first two of three simple cutting actions. Then ask the participant to conduct the
third and final incision by asking them to select the next incision point.

1. Group 1 [3D Virtual Surgery] – Participants that conduct the 3D Virtual Surgery are told that the
   computer generated environment is created by a “new 3d sensor,” placed inside a ‘real’
    patient.

2. Group 2 [Video Based Surgery] – Participants that conduct the Video Based Surgery are
    shown a video based endoscopic surgery on a ‘real’ patient.

3. Upon completion we will share relevant details of the study with the participant, specifically that
    the scenario and patient were both fictitious.

                             
                                                                        10
Potential Implications
By quantifiably measuring the amount of physical risk a person is willing to take, we can begin to
understand what behavioral characteristics cause disconnects between real-world and virtual-
world environments. Such knowledge will allow researchers and industry alike to create better
computer driven simulations that result in better transferability of knowledge to real world
environments.


Social Risk Study
Virtual worlds are also used more and more as media of communication and social interaction.
Games such as World of Warcraft and Halo 3 connect millions of people in a single cyber-
community, where different users can interact with each other virtually. Another game, the Sims,
actually involves the manipulation of very human-like, customized avatars who live in a realistic
virtual world. One of the most impressive cyber-communities today is Second Life, where people
can be so involved that they use real money to purchase virtual shoes for their virtual selves. The
possibilities of how far virtual reality can go have not yet reached their limits. Programs such as
Second Life make it feasible to use virtual reality as a medium for professional communication.
Long-distance business meetings have progressed from being impossible to using telephone
conference calls, to having video conference calls. The entrance of virtual reality to the professional
context creates the need for behavioral research. Thus far, no studies have investigated the
differences in social risk-taking behavior between virtual and real environments.

    Research Question: How does taking social risks differ in real world environments vs. virtual
    world environments?

    Hypothesis: We hypothesize that participants will be more likely to take larger social risks in
    virtual environments.

Preparation
Actors will be hired to participate in both real-life and virtual meetings. Actors will follow along a
identical scripted scenario in both environments to present different social situations, and each
attendee will be given a unique personality.




                              
                                                                          11
Execution
Participants will be asked to attend a virtual or real world business meeting. We will measure risky
behavior such as rudeness, swearing, facial expressions, and physical reactions. Volunteer
business students will be selected to participate in this study and split into two groups. Each
participant will be told they must interview for the study, when in fact the interview will provide the
study's data. The participant will then attend either a real world or virtual candidate interview. The
participant will be pressured at various times throughout the meeting to respond to a coworker
positively or negatively. At the conclusion of the meeting the participant will be asked to complete a
survey gauging their reactions to the scenario.

Potential Implications
By analyzing the responses of people in virtual and real-life social situations, we can anticipate and
understand differences between the two environments. This can help to avert misunderstandings,
inappropriate negative reactions, and inadvertent messages. Such information will better prepare
those who use virtual environments in professional communication.




                             
                                                                            12
Qualifications

Biographical Sketches
The research team is composed of four leading experts at Iowa State University, all with an
extensive history of interdepartmental collaborative research.

Dr. Brian Ryherd, Ph.D., is a prominent professor of behavioral psychology who won a Nobel
Prize for his postdoctoral work, “Analysis of Warring Nations: A Study of International
Businessmen.” Dr. Ryherd earned his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology from Michigan State
University. He specializes in the pressures on group dynamics and the effects of environment on
social interaction. Dr. Ryherd's role in the VERA Project will position him as the Principal
Investigator (PI) for the project. Further, Dr. Ryherd will be overseeing the social risk study, mainly
focusing on the behavioral tendencies of the subjects. He will compile the results and use the data
to further aid in business , education, and other social areas for the future. (Curriculum Vitae
available in Appendix B-CV1)

Dr. Tom Hummer, Ph.D., is the current head of the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC), as
well as the collaborating virtual reality expert for NASA's astronaut training program. Dr. Hummer
received his Ph.D. in both software engineering and computer science at the University of Miami,
after having done his undergraduate work at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After eight
years at VRAC, Dr. Hummer has completed numerous ground-breaking projects concerning
military weaponry, space training, and medicine. Dr. Hummer's role in the VERA Project will involve
overseeing the physical risk study and assessing the results so they can be used to develop
military and aerospace training programs. (Curriculum Vitae available in Appendix B-CV2)

Dr. Dillan Laughlin, Ph.D. , is administrator of the Human-Computer Interaction program at Iowa
State University, having earned his Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley, producing his
dissertation “Transferability of preoperative anatomical programming to precise surgical methods.”
He has also been a previous head of VRAC. Dr. Dillan Laughlin will serve as the project Co-PI and
the lead of the Physical Risk Study. (Curriculum Vitae available in Appendix B-CV3)

                             
                                                                            13
Dr. Rebecca Burch, Ph.D. , is also an administrator of the Human-Computer Interaction program
at Iowa State University, directing the department for six years now. Before her stay at Iowa State,
she travelled worldwide to speak at international virtual technology conferences. In 2002, she was
the keynote speaker at the Nanotechnology Applications Conference in Tokyo, Japan, and in 2005,
she organized the first "Virtualities" Conference in Washington, D.C. Dr. Burch earned her Ph.D. at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, producing her dissertation “Utilization of nano-
measurements in the abstraction of multiple-layer virtual technology.” She is well versed in
designing simulators and enabling advanced interactive behavior. Dr. Burch's key role in this
project is to design the experimental rooms and write the background virtual programming for both
experiments. (Curriculum Vitae available in Appendix B-CV4)

All members of the team have extensive research experience, dependable track records, and novel
ideas and conclusions. The Iowa State University campus has a large pool of support staff and
graduate research assistants available to the VERA Project. Together, our research team,
supporting staff, and graduate assistants can successfully carry out this project.




                            
                                                                     14
Budget

For this research, our costs are split into three categories: personnel, direct costs, and indirect
costs. A budget is included in Appendix A, detailing planned project expenditures by cost center.


Personnel
The most important aspect of any psychological study such as this is the people that are involved.
These positions include programmers to provide the technology that will be used in the research,
those who are conducting the research, and those who will be participants in the study.

    Programmers - These people will be paid to create the virtual situations that will be used in
    our research.

    Graduate Students - The carrying out and planning of this research will be done by graduate
    students, whose salaries will be provided with our funds.

    Research Professors - The large-scale management and planning will be done by us, the
    research professors overseeing the project, whose salaries will be paid with our provided funds.


Direct Costs
To aid the researchers in their studies, there are many material tools and outside costs that must
be addressed. These technologies, conferences, and other office supplies are all important in the
success of our research.

    Experiment Room Use - The university charges a fee for the use of rooms which we will
    need to carry out our experiments.

    Computers - We will need participants to be able to hold a business conference via virtual
    worlds, which requires one computer for each of the participants at one time.




                             
                                                                        15
Transportation and Conference Registration Fees - Professors Dr. R. Burch and Dr. D. Laughlin will
be attending an Human Computer Interaction conference in Okinawa, Japan once per year
throughout all three years of this project to aid in both spreading ideas and receiving ideas.

   Publication Costs - After our research and analysis is completed, we will need to publish our
   work.

   Other Supplies - Office supplies, some minimal computer accessories, and other minor
   supplies are needed.


Indirect Costs
The only indirect costs that need to be accounted for with regards to this research is the overhead
that will be taken by the university in which the research will take place. Our research will be done
at Iowa State University, which has an overhead charge of 48%.




                             
                                                                      16
Project Outcomes

Deliverables and Dissemination
The insight we will gain from the VERA Project can be applied to a limitless number of fields. As
society continues to expand its use of virtual reality environments, our results will pave the way.
Virtual designers will be able to anticipate the behavior changes we observe and use this
knowledge to construct better virtual environments. Consistent with VOSS Grant guidelines the
VERA Project will submit annual project reports (prepared by Dr. Ryherd and Dr. Laughlin) detailing
the the current project activities, findings, publications, or other contributions.

Dissemination of VERA Project findings will be conducted through ongoing updates to the project
website veraproject.net. The VERA Project culminates with the delivery of a report of findings to the
peer reviewed Journal of Human Computer Interaction. Upon completion of the report Dr. Rebecca
Burch will deliver a presentation of project findings at the annual Human Computer Interaction
Conference. Dr. Burch will also begin a scholarly presentation circuit across the world (Dates TBD).


Broader Impact of Project VERA
As virtual technology continues to advance and broaden in scope, its interdisciplinary application
increases. Virtual environments provide a setting for interactions among organizations and people,
and its possibilities are limited only by the imagination. Accordingly, understanding changes in risk
assessment, whether the risk is physical or social, is essential to the advancement of virtual
organizations and sociotechnical systems. Computer-mediated communication could supplement
group collaboration (Losada et al 1990). Social dynamics are lost in the transition to virtual reality,
and a combined use of both physical and virtual interactions during group work can maximize
normal social behavior. The broader implications of this research are far reaching, affecting
numerous industries and professions. Three examples follow:




                             
                                                                        17
Manufacturing
In the manufacturing industry, particularly the manufacture of high-value goods, many firm have
begun to utilize computer driven simulations to train workers on the operation of manufacturing
equipment. These simulated environments create a way for new hires to learn the processes of
creating the good without creating expensive waste. The challenge with these manufacturing
simulators is that the skills learned in the simulated environment are difficult to transfer to a real
world environment. The dissemination of our research will provide those in industry the information
they need to create simulations that greatly increase the transferability of newly acquired skills.
Better transferability of knowledge and skills real-world environments will result in a much greater
return on investment for the business.

Medicine
One of the biggest problems facing medicine today is the availability of special care. Small
communities across the globe may have the resources to provide basic health care and emergency
care but may lack the resources to support the need for oncology, cardiology, and neurology
specialists. A movement in the medical profession is to allow surgeons to robotically operate on
patients. Our research results will enhance the creation of systems that allow a doctor to
collaboratively operate on patients distributed across the globe, without putting the patient at risk.

Business
The global economic landscape is drastically changing and businesses need to provide effective
means of collaborative communication between employees, business partners, and customers.
The global spread of business demands that businesses be able to communicate without
geographic limitations. By understanding differences in behavioral patterns between real and virtual
environments we can create systems that create a sense of presence for the user. This sense of
presence leads to a better adoption of virtual communication as an analog to costly face-to-face
communication.

Education
At the university level, virtual classrooms would allow professors to teach from home when they are
sick or when the weather conditions are dangerous. Students would be able to participate in
learning in a different way, giving struggling students a chance to find a new avenue of information
including simulations, databases, instrumentation, analytic tools and services which facilitate



                             
                                                                          18
interaction with human affiliates that are integral to the functioning of the school. Distance learning
would be made much more viable with computer aided virtual experiences.


Summary
Behavior in virtual environments has been the subject of little research. As a result, this project will
also serve to unlock further research opportunities. Its outcomes will serve as the foundation for
further study and for technological development. For example, once we understand how people
act differently in each environment, we can modify virtual systems to manage that behavior. By
promoting higher transferability to real world environments, this understanding will facilitate the
creation of better simulations and enhanced communication.




Next Steps

Thank you for your consideration to fund the VERA Project. We are looking forward to the
opportunity of working with you to perfect our society's use of virtual environments. Upon review of
this proposal questions may be directed to either Dr. Brian Ryherd or Dr. Dillan Laughlin. Upon
acceptance of this proposal please contact Dr. Brian Ryherd at your earliest convenience.

 Dr. Brian Ryherd                                    Dr. Dillan Laughlin
 Iowa State University                               Iowa State University
 Virtual Reality Application Center                  Virtual Reality Application Center
 1346 Lincoln Way                                    1346 Lincoln Way
 Ames, Iowa 50010                                    Ames, Iowa 50010

 T 515-234-9864                                      T 515-234-9865
 F 515-234-1235                                      F 515-234-1237
 brian.ryherd@veraproject.net                        dillan.laughlin@veraproject.net




                             
                                                                         19
References

• Applegate, L.M., B.R. Konsynski, and J.F. Nunamaker. 1986. A group decision support system
  for idea generation and issue analysis in organization planning. Proceedings of Conference on
  Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Austin, TX.

• Chopra, V., B.J. Gesink, J. de Jong, J.G. Bovill, J. Spierdijk, and R. Brand. 1994. Does training
  on an anaesthesia simulator lead to improvement in performance? Br. J. Anaesth. 73:293-297.

• Girod, S., M. Teschner, U. Schrell, B. Kevekordes, and B. Girod. 2001. Computer-aided 3-D
  simulation and prediction of craniofacial surgery: a new approach. Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial
 Surgery 29:156-158.

• Gorman, P.J., A.H. Meter, and T.M. Krummel. 1999. Simulation and virtual reality in surgical
  education: real or unreal? Arch. Surg. 134:1203-1208.

• Greenleaf, W.J. 1996. Developing the tools for practical VR applications. IEEE Engineering Med.
  Biol. 15:23-30.

• Losada, M., P. Sanchez, and E.E. Noble. 1990. Collaborative technology and group process
  feedback: their impact on interactive sequences in meetings. Proceedings of the ACM
 Conference on Computer-supported Cooperative Work 90:53-64.

• McGuire, T.W., S. Kiesler, and J. Siegel. 1987. Group and computer-mediated discussion effects
  in risk decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52:917-930.

• Pierce, D., Lu, S., and Harter, D. 2009. Enacting Actions in Simulated Environments. Proceedings
  of the World Conference on Innovative VR 2009 (WINVR09-726).

• Watson, R.G., g. DeSanctis, and M.S. Poole. 1988. Using a GDSS to facilitate group consensus:
  some intended and unintended consequences. MIS Quarterly (September):463-477.




                            
                                                                         20
Appendix

Appendix A


VERA Project Budget
Description                        Quantity   Unit Price       Cost            NSF      University
                                                                       Contribution   Contribution

Personnel
Programmers [per hour]                100          $60       $6,000        $6,000
Graduate Students [per semester]         6      $6,000      $36,000       $36,000
Research Professors [per year]           4     $60,000     $240,000     $100,000       $140,000


Direct Costs
Experiment Room Use                     18        $800      $14,400       $14,400
Computers                                4      $1,100       $4,400        $4,400
Transportation                           6      $3,000      $18,000       $18,000
Conference Registration                  3        $550       $1,650        $1,650
Publication Costs                        1        $750        $750           $750
Other Supplies                           1        $700        $700           $700


Indirect Costs
48% University Overhead                  1    $154,512     $154,512     $154,512


                                               Subtotal    $476,412     $336,412       $140,000
                                                   Total    $476,412




                          
                                                                     21
Dr. Brian Ryherd, Ph.D
4328 McDonald Lane, Des Moines, IA 50311
Tel: 515-347-4932 brian@iastate.edu




         EXPERIENCE
         Professor, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa                                                    1989-Present
         Professor of Behavioral Psychology and current Chair of Psychology Department specializing in the pressures
         on group dynamics and the effects of environment on social interaction.

         Associate Professor, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa                                              1985-1989
         Created 12 original graduate level behavioral science courses including the now famed course titled “Cognitive
         Dissonance in Cheeseburger/Pizza Paradox Models”

         Researcher, National Security Agency, Undisclosed, US                                               1981-1985
         Conducted national security research into the behavioral effects of A Flock of Seagulls.



         EDUCATION
         Michigan State University, PhD - 1980
         Received distinguished Nobel Prize for Doctoral work entitled “Analysis of Warring Nations: A Study of Interna-
         tional Businessmen.”

         Iowa State University, BS - 1977
         Behavioral Psychology Major, and

         PUBLICATIONS
         • Bradley, J.B., White, B.J., & Ryherd, B. Teams and Tasks: A Temporal Framework for the Effects of Interper-
         sonal Interventions on Team Performance, Small Group Research, Volume 34, Number 3, pp. 353-387, June
         2003.
         • Ryherd, B. & West L.A. Geographic Information Systems in Developing Countries: Issues in Data Collection,
         Management, and Use, the Journal of Global Information Management, Volume 9, Number 4, pp. 45-55, Fall
         2001.
         • Ryherd, B., Crossland, M.D., & Killingsworth, B.L. Is a Map More than a Picture? An Examination of the Role
         of Subject Characteristics, Task Complexity, and Technology on Map Reading and Decision Making, the journal
         Management Information Systems Quarterly, Volume 24, Number 4, pp. 601-630, Fall 2000.
         • Ryherd, B., Valacich, J.S., & Wheeler, B.C. The Effects of Media and Task on User Performance: A Test of the
         Task-Media Fit Hypothesis, Group Decision & Negotiation, Volume 9, Number 6, pp. 507-529, November
         2000.
         • Ryherd, B. Teaching Spatial Analysis in Business: An Examination of the Use of Geographic Information Sys-
         tems in a Decision Support Systems Course, the Journal of Computer Information Systems, Volume 40, Number
         3, Spring 2000.
         • Ryherd, B., Bradley, J.B., & McLeod, M. The Impact of Group Process Training and Role Assignments on the
           Performance and Perceptions of Student IS Project Teams, the Journal of Informatics Education & Research,
           Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 1999.

         Books
         • Ryherd, B. & Strader, T. (eds.) Mobile Commerce: Technology, Theory and Applications, 2003.
         • Hackbarth, G & Ryherd, B. Strategic Positioning of Location Applications for Geo-Business, in J. Pick (ed.)
         GIS in Business, March 2005.
         • Ryherd, B., Dangermond, J., Santoro, P.J., Darling, M. & Crossland, M.D. Responding to Customer Needs
         with Geographic Information Systems, in S. Bradley & R. Nolan (eds.) Sense and Respond: Capturing Value in
         the Network Era, March 1998.
         • Wagner G.R., Wynne, B.E., & Ryherd, B. Group Support Systems Facilities and Software, in L.M. Jessup & J.S.
         Valacich (eds.) Group Support Systems: New Perspectives, 1993, pages 8-55.



Appendix B-CV1	                                                                                               	            22
Dr. Tom Hummer
1287 BASS AVE DES MOINES, IA 50311	                                                           tom.hummer.veraproject.net
TEL 515-221-2211   FAX 515-432-7789




Experience
VIRTUAL REALITY APPLICATIONS CENTER DIRECTOR, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, AMES, IOWA 2006-PRESENT
Completed numerous ground-breaking projects concerning military weaponry, space training, and medicine.

CONSULTANT, NASA, HOUSTON, TEXAS 1993 - PRESENT
Collaborating virtual reality expert for NASA's astronaut training program.

RESEARCH ASSISTANT, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI DEPARTMENT OF AEROSPACE SCIENCE, MIAMI, FLORIDA 1990 - 1993
Conducted research into aerospace engineering simulators and military applications.


Education
University of Miami — PhD., 1990
Dissertation: Aerospace Modalities in Simulated Computer Environments

University of Colorado at Boulder — BS., 1987
Majors: Software Engineering and Computer Science


Publications
• Bradley, J.B., White, B.J., & Hummer, T. The Impact of Goal Congruence on Flight Systems Development Team Per-
formance. Proceedings of the Southeast Institute for Decision Sciences Institute, February 2003.

• Bradley, J.B., Foltz, B., & Hummer, T. Using GIS in a natural disaster. Proceedings of the American Society of Behav-
ioral Sciences Conference, February 2001.

• Hummer, T. & Higgins, G. Spatial Data in the Data Warehouse: A Nomenclature for Design and Use, Proceedings of the
5th Annual Americas Conference on Aerospace Systems, August 1999.

• Hummer, T. Teaching Spatial Analysis in Business: The Case of Geographic Information Systems in a Decision Support
Systems Course, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Association for Information Management,
December 1998.


Funded Projects
• Development of a Recruiting, Selection, and Retention System to Enhance Crime Lab Ability to Identify and Hire Ap-
propriate Lab Personnel. A $139,000 grant funded by the National Institute of Justice in association with the Midwest
Forensic Resource Center, Awarded, January 2008; Completion Date Fall 2008. Tom Hummer (PI) & Anthony Butterfield
(PI).

• Feasibility and Proof of Concept of Utilizing Radio Frequency Identification Tagging Technology to Manage Aerospace
Laboratories: Technical Innovations in Management and Infrastructure. A $230,000 grant funded by NASA in association
with the Midwest Aerospace Resource Center, Awarded March 2005; Completion Date December 2006. Anthony Hen-
drickson (PI), Kevin Scheibe (PI), Tom Hummer (PI), & Tony Butterfield (PI).




Appendix B-CV2	                                                                                                           23
                                                                1 2 3 4 A R M A D I L L O AV E  DES MOINES, IA 50311
                                TEL 5 1 5 - 2 3 7 - 1 2 8 9   FAX 5 1 5 - 2 3 4 - 1 2 3 4  EMAIL D I L L A N @ I A S TAT E . E D U




DILLAN LAUGHLIN



    EXPERIENCE
    P R O F E S S O R , I O W A S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y A M E S , I A 2 0 0 4 - P R E S E N T
    Professor of Human Computer Interaction and administrator of the Human-Computer Interaction program
    at Iowa State University.

    V R A C D I R E C T O R , I O W A S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y A M E S , I A 2 0 0 4 - 2 0 0 6
    Created masters and PhD degree programs under the ISU Virtual Reality Application Center.

    A S S O C I AT E P R O F E S S O R , I O W A S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y A M E S , I A 1 9 9 8 - 2 0 0 4
    The ISU Chancellor and Iowa Board of Regents provided authorization for tenure and promotion in April
    1999.

    E D U C AT I O N
    University of California, Berkley, California — PhD, 1998
    Disertation: Transferability of preoperative anatomical programming to precise surgical methods.

    University of Iowa, Iowa City Iowa - BS, BA, BBA, 1995
    Majors: Pre-Med, Computer Science, Business

    J O U R N A L P U B L I C AT I O N S
    • Laughlin, D.T., Hassall, L.M., & Triplett, J. The mean business of immersive environments. The MERLOT
    Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT), Volume 4, Number 3, September 2008.

    • Laughlin, D.T., McNeill, D., Ganis, M., Roche, E., Konsynski, B., Bray, D., Lester, & Townsend, A.M.
    Second Life and other Virtual Worlds: A Roadmap for Research, Communications of the AIS, Volume 20,
    Article 20, March 2008. (listed top-10 downloads for all time August 2008 to present).

    • Townsend, A.M. & Laughlin, D.T. Applications of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in the Meat
    Industry, CAB Reviews (Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition, and Natural Resources).
    Volume 3, Number 007, February 2008. Available from http://www.cababstractsplus.org/cabreviews/
    reviews.asp#.

    • Laughlin, D.T., Townsend, A.M., Hayes, D.J., & Lonergan S.M. A study of the factors that influence
    consumer attitudes toward beef products using the conjoint market analysis tool. The Journal of Animal
    Science, Volume 85, Number 10, pp. 2639-2659, October 2007.

    • Laughlin, D.T., Terando, W. D., Janvrin, D. J., & Dilla, W.N. It’s just a game, or is it? Simulated surgical
    procedures in virtual worlds. Communications of the AIS, Volume 20, Article 15, July 2007.

    • Scheibe, K. P., Laughlin, B. E., & Luse, A. The Role of Effective Modeling in the Development of Self-
    Efficacy: The Case of the Transparent Engine. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, Volume
    5, Number 1, pp. 21-42, January 2007.

    • Scheibe, K.P., Laughlin, D.T., and C.W. Zobel. Creating Offshore-ready Medical and Industrial
    Professionals: A Global Perspective and Strong Collaborative Skills Are Needed. Journal of Labor
    Research, Volume 27, Number 3, pp. 275-290, June 2006.




    Appendix B-CV3                                                                                                            24
Dr. Rebecca Burch


                  Experience
                  Administrator, Iowa State University Human Computer Interaction Program
         2003 - Present
                  Professor well versed in instruction of simulator design and enabling advanced interactive behavior.

                  Managing Editor, Lecture Note in Virtual Environment Design
 
        
       1998 - 2003
                  Created and edited peer reviewed journal in simulated technologies. Won 2000 NSF Best Editor of a
                  Scientific Peer Reviewed Journal Award.

                  Education
                  Massachusetts Institute of Technology - PhD., 2000
                  Dissertation: Utilization of nano-measurements in the abstraction of multiple-layer virtual technology.

                  Conference Publications and Presentations
                  Keynote - Nanotechnology Applications Conference in Tokyo, Japan, 2002.

                  Virtualities Conference - Washington, D.C. 2005.

                  Journal Publications
                  • Burch, R. & Bradley, J.B. Making Project Groups Work: The Impact of Structuring Group Roles on
                  the Performance and Perception of Information Systems Project Teams, the Journal of Computer
                  Information Systems Volume 29, Number 1, Fall 1998.

                  • Burch, R. & Valacich, J.S. Information Is What You Make of It: The Influence of Group History and
                  Computer Support on Information Sharing, Decision Quality, and Member Perceptions, the Journal of
                  Management Information Systems Volume 15, Number 2, pp. 173-197, Fall 1998.

                  • Burch, R. & West L.A. Geographic Information Systems in Developing Countries: Opportunities and
                  Options for Decision Support, the Journal of Global Information Management Volume 6, Number 3,
                  pp. 14-25, April 1998.

                  • Burch, R. Using Group Support Systems to Discover Hidden Profiles: An Examination of the
                  Influence of Group Size and Meeting Structures on Information Sharing and Decision Quality, the
                  International Journal of Human Computer Studies Volume 43, Number 3, pp. 387-405, October 1997.

                  • Burch, R., Understanding the Role of Geographic Information Technologies in Business:
                  Applications and Research Directions, Journal of Geographic Information and Decision Analysis,
                  Volume 1, Number 1, pp. 44-68, April 1997.

                  • Valacich, J.S., Burch, R., Wheeler, B.C., & Wachter, R. The Effects of Numerical and Logical Group
                  Size on Computer-Mediated Idea Generation, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
                  Processes, Volume 62, Number 3, pp. 318-329, June 1995.

                  • Wheeler, B.C., Burch, R., & Scudder, J.S. Restrictive Group Support Systems as a Source of Process
                  Structure for High and Low Procedural Order Groups, Small Group Research, Volume 24, Number 4,
                  pp. 504-522, November 1993.

                  • Burch, R., Hoffer, J.A., & Wynne, B.E. The Implications of Group Development and History for GSS
                  Theory and Practice, Small Group Research, Volume 23, Number 4, pp. 524-572, November 1992.




                  9274 21st Street Ames, IA 50010
                  T 515-856-8827 F 515-856-9929 E rebecca.burch@veraproject.net

Appendix B-CV4	                                                                                         	         25

				
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