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Health Implications of Virtual Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Transferability of Findings from Neuroarchitecture.

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Virtual architecture has been increasingly relied on to evaluate the health impacts of physical architecture. In this health research, exposure to virtual architecture has been used as a proxy for exposure to physical architecture. Despite the growing body of research on the health implications of physical architecture, there is a paucity of research examining the long-term health impacts of prolonged exposure to virtual architecture. In response, this paper considers: what can proxy studies, which use virtual architecture to assess the physiological response to physical architecture, tell us about the impact of extended exposure to virtual architecture on human health? The paper goes on to suggest that the applicability of these findings to virtual architecture may be limited by certain confounding variables when virtual architecture is experienced for a prolonged period of time. This paper explores the potential impact of two of these confounding variables: multisensory integration and gravitational perception. This paper advises that these confounding variables are unique to extended virtual architecture exposure and may not be captured by proxy studies that aim to capture the impact of physical architecture on human health through acute exposure to virtual architecture. While proxy studies may be suitable for measuring some aspects of the impact of both physical and virtual architecture on human health, this paper argues that they may be insufficient to fully capture the unintended consequences of extended exposure to virtual architecture on human health. Therefore, in the face of the increasing use of virtual architectural environments, the author calls for the establishment of a subfield of neuroarchitectural health research that empirically examines the physiological impacts of extended exposure to virtual architecture in its own right.



VR, environmental health, neuroarchitecture, virtual architecture, virtual reality, Humans, Gravitation, Architecture, Built Environment, Virtual Reality

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Int J Environ Res Public Health

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