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Brief report: A pilot study of the use of a virtual reality headset in autism populations

Newbutt, Nigel; Sung, Connie; Kuo, Hung Jen; Leahy, Michael. J; Lin, Chien Chun; Tong, Boyang


Nigel Newbutt
Senior Lecturer in Digital Education

Connie Sung

Hung Jen Kuo

Michael. J Leahy

Chien Chun Lin

Boyang Tong


The application of virtual reality technologies (VRTs) for users with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been studied for decades. However, a gap remains in our understanding surrounding VRT head-mounted displays (HMDs). As newly designed HMDs have become commercially available (in this study the Oculus Rift™) the need to investigate newer devices is immediate. This study explored willingness, acceptance, sense of presence and immersion of ASD participants. Results revealed that all 29 participants (mean age=32; 33% with IQ< 70) were willing to wear the HMD. The majority of the participants reported an enjoyable experience, high levels of ‘presence’, and were likely to use HMDs again. IQ was found to be independent of the willingness to use HMDs and related VRT immersion experience.


Newbutt, N., Sung, C., Kuo, H. J., Leahy, M. J., Lin, C. C., & Tong, B. (2016). Brief report: A pilot study of the use of a virtual reality headset in autism populations. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(9), 3166-3176.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 7, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Journal Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Print ISSN 0162-3257
Electronic ISSN 1573-3432
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 9
Pages 3166-3176
Keywords autism spectrum disorder, virtual reality technology, head-mounted display, Oculus Rift
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : The final publication is available at Springer via


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