Journal : European Psychologist, 21 January 2022
This paper aims to explore the recent advances in research concerning the impact of immersive virtual environments affordances on the expression of users’ creativity at individual and team levels. While the top virtual reality (VR) application areas are entertainment and gaming, simulation and training for professionals, research in the domain of the psychology of creativity and VR is advancing rapidly in Europe. Indeed, between 2014 and 2021, 70% of publications in this domain resulted from European research in diverse fields such as engineering, design, music composition, art making, etc. These studies took advantage of advanced VR affordances, such as head and hands motion trackers to synchronize an avatar in real time, live streaming of a video into a VR headset screen to create an artwork, etc. Four main topics were explored : a) new creativity techniques involving a virtual upgrade of traditionally used techniques, virtual sketching and prototyping as well as sophisticated interactive virtual menus and motion tracking systems, b) the right digital self-representation for enhancing creativity and the degree to which users identify with the “persona avatar” in the context of user-centered innovations c) the impact of physical and social virtual contextual cues on creative performance and (d) the perception of virtual reality by creativity and innovation professionals. Our review confirms that VR supports greater creative performance at individual and collaborative levels as well as enjoyment and fun. However, as rich and varied as this literature has become, it presents major methodological limitations that should be addressed in future research.