Mood Worlds: A Virtual Environment for Autonomous Emotional Expression

N Wagener, J Niess, Yvonne Rogers, Johannes Schöning
in CHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference paper (text)


Immersive interactive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) have the potential to foster well-being. While VR applications have been successfully used to evoke positive emotions through the presetting of light, colour and scenery, the experiential potential of allowing users to independently create a virtual environment (VE) has not yet been sufficiently addressed. To that end, we explore how the autonomous design of a VE can affect emotional engagement and well-being. We present Mood Worlds - a VR application allowing users to visualise their emotions by self-creating a VE. In an exploratory evaluation (N=16), we found that Mood Worlds is an effective tool supporting emotional engagement. Additionally, we found that an autonomous creation process in VR increases positive emotions and well-being. Our work shows that VR can be an effective tool to visualise emotions, thereby increasing positive affect. We discuss opportunities and design requirements for VR as positive technology.