Eating together while being apart: A pilot study on the effects of mixed-reality conversations and virtual environments on older eaters’ solitary meal experience and food intake

Dannie Michael Korsgaard, Thomas Bjørner*, Jon Ram Bruun-Pedersen, Pernille Krog Sørensen, Armando Perez-Cueto

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of mixed-reality systems to virtually manipulate the eating experience and facilitate increased food intake among older participants. Social isolation is often associated with undernourishment among older adults receiving care services. Mixed-reality systems that blend real elements and a virtual world can conveniently allow older adults to eat a meal in their home while experiencing having a conversation with friends through virtual avatars in a virtual environment. A within-subjects study on thirty older participants investigated whether the mixed-reality illusion of eating in a living room with and without familiar others contributed positively to the meal experience and increased energy intake. The results did not display any significant changes in energy intake but highlighted that the virtual living room had a more energetic and pleasant atmosphere and that meals eaten in the virtual room were perceived to be of a higher quality compared to meals eaten in the real lab environment. Eating while engaging in avatar-based social interactions with three remotely located friends resulted in lower sensations of being alone and positive mood changes. A discussion of the reasons for the absence of increases in energy intake is included.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (VRW)
Number of pages6
Place of PublicationIEEE Xplore
Publication date2020
Pages365-370
Article number9090427
ISBN (Electronic)9781728165325
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Collaborative and social computing systems and tools
  • Human computer interaction (HCI)
  • Human-centered computing
  • Information systems
  • Information systems applications
  • Interaction paradigms
  • Mixed / augmented reality

Cite this

Korsgaard, D. M., Bjørner, T., Bruun-Pedersen, J. R., Sørensen, P. K., & Perez-Cueto, A. (2020). Eating together while being apart: A pilot study on the effects of mixed-reality conversations and virtual environments on older eaters’ solitary meal experience and food intake. In 2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (VRW) (pp. 365-370). [9090427]. https://doi.org/10.1109/VRW50115.2020.00079