Virtual Immersive Training And Learning (VITAL)

  • Our research explores the use of Virtual and Immersive technology for training humans to perform complex or high-risk tasks.
  • We adopt these technologies to develop experimental paradigms that help us tackle fundamental research questions relating to sensorimotor control and perceptual cognitive expertise.
  • We work closely with industry partner Cineon Training.
  • Our research is underpinned by psychological theories of human perception, cognition and emotion, and we adopt a number of concurrent measurement techniques to examine important research questions relating to human learning, psychomotor control and psychophysiology. (See the Cognitive and psychophysiological determinants of human performance group for more information.)

Current projects

Modulating multisensory information to explore pain

A PhD project examining how VR technologies can be used to alleviate chronic and acute and wrist pain, with obvious applied applications but a unique opportunity to understand the psychological underpinnings and fundamental drivers of pain.

Virtual Reality and Stroke

Building novel assessments for upper-limb and hand function following impairment: A PhD project funded through the EPSRC DTP developing novel assessments which will inform bespoke rehabilitation methods for upper-limb impairments caused by Stroke by mapping upper-limb functional ability of stroke survivors in reach-to-grasp tasks through Motion Capture and Virtual Reality.

Using analogies to overcome freezing of gait: A first step towards making the first step

Virtual reality was used to create a stressful environment (a raised walkway) to enable us to induce freezing episodes in people with Parkinson’s disease and then explore interventions to help them initiate a successful step. The project was led by Dr Will Young and was funded by Parkinson’s UK.

Augmented reality as a tool for cognitive de-biasing

This project is funded by Defence Science Technologies Laboratory and will explore how individuals’ eye and reaching movements when completing bespoke tasks in augmented reality can be assessed using machine learning to characterise levels of cognitive biases. The project is led by Professor Mark Wilson in collaboration with Dr Piotr Slowinski in Mathematics.

Our capabilities

  • Access to programmers and coders via our industry partner Cineon Training, including Unity and UE4.
  • VR integrated and mobile eye tracking.
  • Oculus and Vive VR headsets.
  • Access to 360 video production.
  • Psychophysiological measurement.
  • Mixed reality object interaction (with motion tracking).

Contact us

To ask a question or discuss working with us, please contact Dr Sam Vine -

Historic work

Military simulation research

We delivered a research project, funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which utilised a weapon simulation (see image).

The research explored the use of Quiet eye training to improve marksmanship skills in simulated environments.  



With funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) we worked with Exeter-based airline Flybe to use flight simulators in the assessment of a pilot’s reaction to pressure.


Driving simulation

We have previously used simulated rally driving to explore the link between eye movements and steering movements and test theories about the disruptive effects of anxiety on attention.

Additionally, simulated driving is an ideal environment in which to explore the psychophysiological determinants of flow, a peak performance state of intense concentration and motivation (see publications).