Evoking social evaluative threat through dance in a virtual environment

UPDATE as of June 3, 2021: I forgot to mention, the paper won the Best Paper Award for AHFE 2020!!!! Click here for the updated paper

UPDATE as of June 17, 2020: Our paper was reworked and accepted to the 11th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE)! Our paper was also nominated for the Best Paper Award!


During the Summer of 2019, I undertook a research internship at Iowa State University’s (ISU) Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC).

It was the Summer Program for Interdisciplinary Research and Education – Emerging Interface Technologies (SPIRE-EIT). This was also a part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) competitive Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

I did research under Dr. Elizabeth Shirtcliff to create a virtual reality dance competition to stress people out and collect stress biomarkers (cortisol via saliva samples and heart rate via ECG). We finished our project and research paper Evoking Social Evaluative Threat Through Dance in a Virtual Environment on August 2019.

My roles in this internship include:

  • Rigged and animated the dance models in Unity from Adobe’s Mixamo website
  • Assisted with the coroutine C# code by creating a reset mechanic and the ability to switch player dance models via pressing Q, W, E, or R
  • Hooked up participants to ECG and GSR biosensors
  • Writing and organizing our research paper and poster
Presented this poster at Iowa State University’s Undergraduate Research Symposium
Left: The SPIT Lab team undergraduates
Right: Me, standing in front of the poster
Photo credits: Jenny Mai Phan

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