Thank you for your consideration in participating in the “Transformative Change in Virtual Reality: A Mixed Methods Inquiry” study. This research is a vital component of a doctoral dissertation by Sandeep Prakash, Ph.D.(c), California Institute of Integral Studies. This study has been approved by the Human Resources Review Committee at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The aim of this study is to explore participants’ process of psychological transformation and well-being guided by a VR meditation experience. This study seeks participants with minimal or zero experience with the VR application “SoundSelf” and an interest in meditation and/or contemplative practice. Participants will engage in a process of critical reflection on VR experiences and their effects on their lives, relationships, and world. Participants will be asked to do a 30-min VR meditation—SoundSelf —at least 3 times per week; maintain a reflection journal; participate in a Slack group to contribute and share with other participants insights, knowledge, and evolving personal process around the SoundSelf experience; and attend one 2hr group meeting per week for 4 weeks. In this study participants join as co-researchers, contributing the knowledge and insights they discover with regular experience of the VR application: this requires an extensive time commitment, and your contributions will be highly valued for contributing to the psychological study of VR. The researcher’s goal is to contribute an in-depth understanding of participants’ experiences of VR meditations and how these experiences might affect transformative processes and psychological well-being.
Logistics:

·      If you decide to participate, you will join a group of 12-16 co-researchers. The process will take place between late November 2020 and December 2020. We will meet for an introductory 1 hour meeting to explain in detail the inquiry process. (Exact schedule TBD by our group)

·      You will require, in the privacy and safety of your residence, your own VR hardware. The technical specs required for computer and VR are:
Windows System Requirements
OS: Windows 10
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
CPU: Intel i5 2500 equivalent or better CPU
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 equivalent or better
Storage: 3 GB available space
Microphone and Headphones Required

macOS System Requirements
OS: macOS 10.9 or higher.
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 or better.
Memory: 6 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon Pro 255 or better. Intel graphics cards not recommended.
Storage: 3 GB available space
Microphone and Headphones Required

Supported Headsets
Oculus: Rift, Rift S, Quest (with Link)
HTC: Vive, Vive Pro, Cosmos
Valve: Index
OpenVR: any OpenVR supporting headset.
Windows Mixed Reality: any Windows Mixed Reality headset.

·      You can meet on Zoom for 4 weekly meetings (likely a weekend, TBD between our group) for 1-2hrs at a TBD convenient Eastern USA time. You have fluency in spoken and written English.

·      You will independently engage in VR meditations at least 3 times per week.

·      Group meetings will consist of collaboratively determined inquiry activities, possibly including group and pair sharing, creative self-expression, art-making, mindful movement, and group contemplative practice. Group activities and audio will be recorded through Zoom.

·      Throughout the process we will engage in reflection and reflective writing about VR experiences and our lives, relationships and world.

·      There are no benefits to participation. You will receive SoundSelf application free of cost. You may find the collaborative research process rewarding and insightful for your life.

Confidentiality: The data obtained in the study will be confidential. Names and identifying information will be left out or altered to protect participants’ anonymity and privacy. Participants’ names and personal information will only be known to the researcher. Recordings and transcripts will be stored in a password protected storage, and will be destroyed within 5 years of study completion.

Do you Qualify?: The criteria for selection of participants is three-fold. Firstly participants should be healthy adults at least 21 years of age, with an interest in meditation and/or contemplative practice, and own a gaming PC and VR hardware. Secondly, they should understand the risks of VR: injury resulting from malfunction of the equipment, negative reactions to VR including, but not limited to, motion sickness, nausea, dizziness, seizures, disorientation, loss of balance, tripping, falling, and post-traumatic stress disorder responses. VR is a new technology and there may be additional unknown and nonobvious risk associated with VR technology. Thirdly, they need to consent to participation in VR meditations 3 times per week for 4 weeks, 4 weekly meetings for 1-2 hours each, 1 concluding meeting at the end of the study, and consent to data to be used and presented for this dissertation study.
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