Lab Projects

The Virtual Embodiment Lab in the Cornell Communication Department studies embodiment and presence in virtual environments.

We ask how the way you see your own and others’ actions represented affects how you understand your self, others and your environment.  We also explore how changing this representation can change people’s perceptions and allow them to collaborate, learn, and experience in ways that they can’t in the real world.

Current Projects


We are following up our recent study studying the effects of social support in virtual environments on pain perception, with a second study in which participants bring in a friend or family member to interact with in different virtual environments. You can sign up to participate here!

Moon Phases

In a collaboration with the Cornell Physics Department. Together we built a virtual environment in which students can learn about moon phases in an interactive space. The environment situates students above the north pole or far above the earth as they grab the moon and move it around themselves while watching it change phases. Throughout this experience, students are quizzed as they interact and learn the material.

The graduate student leads for this project were Byungdoo Kim, Jack Madden, Swati Pandita, and Yilu Sun

Read the full paper here!

Idea Generation

This project by VHIL alumna Yilu Sun explored nonverbal behavior during competitive and collaborative creative ideation. A poster describing the design and validation of the movement visualization module was presented at IEEE VR in Reutlingen, Germany on March 21, and the first full paper presenting the results of the study was just published in PLOS One.

Grocery Study

In this study, participants were asked to shop in a virtual grocery store for one week’s worth of groceries in a “food desert”. Items varied in relative health benefits as well as price, with each participant having a budget of $60.


Senior research assistant Aishwariyah Dhyan Vimal led this phase of the project.