Augmented Reality (AR), in which the real world is combined with virtual objects, is being used widely in both industry, education, training, games, and more. Many perception and decision making biases that could be connected to Virtual Reality (VR) might be overcome in AR. For example, the tendency to perceive money which is invested virtually as virtual money, without considering its real value. In this research we evaluated the difference in the user`s perception when comparing between an AR and a VR system by using a computer game called “Intactio”, which was developed as an AR system that combines virtual objects in a computer monitor and a real tangible coins machine. The AR system was compared to the two versions of the virtual system, which are based on the AR version, but includes only the computer monitor with the virtual coins in one version, and a counter in the second version. Two studies were conducted in this setting.
In the first study, we evaluate the perception of resolution for adults: whether participants can differentiate between more and less profitable products when using an AR system compared with a VR system. Participants were divided into three experimental groups: an AR group, that used the game with the machine; a VR group that used the virtual game with no machine and a coin counter on the screen; and a VR group in which the coins were spread over the screen. We evaluated in which group the resolution will be better. The results demonstrated that while all three groups started with a differentiation between the more profitable and less profitable coins, only the VR group with the counter continued with this trend, while in the other two group the resolution decreased. It seems that adults perceive resolution better when the money is presented to them in a more abstract and less concrete manner.
In the second study, we evaluated the perception of profit with children at the ages of 6 to 8. For some of the products, the selling price was higher than the buying price (profitable products), and for others, the selling price was identical to the selling price (non-profitable products). Participants were divided to two experimental groups, which were identical to the AR group and to the VR group for which the coins were spread over the screen. The results of this study, interestingly, demonstrated the opposite direction. While the two groups started their interaction with differentiation between the profitable and non-profitable products, only the AR group continued with this trend, and for the VR group children did not differentiate between the profitable and non-profitable products in the later stages. It seems that children can perceive restitution better when the money is presented in a more concrete manner.
Conclusions from this research can draw the differentiation between adults and children regarding the effect of AR on perceiving money, but may also be generalized to the perception of other concepts as well.