Reflexive VR storytelling design beyond immersion: facilitating self-reflection on death and loneliness

Sojung Bahng, Ryan M. Kelly, Jon McCormack

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


This research examines the reflexive dimensions of cinematic virtual reality (CVR) storytelling. We created Anonymous, an interactive CVR piece that employs a reflexive storytelling method. This method is based on distancing effects and is used to elicit audience awareness and self-reflection about loneliness and death. To understand the audience’s experiences, we conducted in-depth interviews to study which design factors and elements prompted reflexive thoughts and feelings. Our findings highlight how the audience experience was impacted
by four reflexive dimensions: abstract and minimal aesthetics, everyday materials and textures, the restriction of control, and multiple, disembodied points of view. We use our findings to discuss how these dimensions can inform the design of VR
storytelling experiences that provoke self and social reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsJoanna McGrenere, Andy Cockburn
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020 - Honolulu , United States of America
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020
Conference number: 38th (Website) (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020
Abbreviated titleCHI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Alienation
  • Cinematic VR
  • Distancing Effect
  • Estrangement
  • Immersive Storytelling
  • Reflexivity
  • Virtual Reality

Cite this