Psychedelic VR Experience: An Exploratory Study on Cosmic Flow

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Virtual environments are emerging as a tool for providing psychede-lic experiences due to the increasing interest in altered states of consciousness (ASCs) and the spread of VR headsets. However, the user experience of commercial psychedelic VR applications has not yet been adequately explored in HCI. To fill this gap, we conducted a user experience study of Cosmic Flow, one of the psychedelic VR available on Steam. In this exploratory study, six participants experienced Cosmic Flow and got interviewed. Analysis of user interviews revealed three main themes that articulate different aspects of the experience: moderate interaction, reflections on personal experience, and VR ergonomics. In the discussion, we derive seven design considerations to guide the development of psychedelic VR: non-active engagement, positive indolence and idleness, non-invasive multi-sensory modalities, creative and introspective activities, effects of priming, virtual nature, and comfortableness. The study contributes to design researchers and practitioners working on related experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th International Academic Mindtrek Conference
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450399555
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventInternational Academic Mindtrek conference - Tampere, Finland
Duration: 16 Nov 202218 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


ConferenceInternational Academic Mindtrek conference


  • Altered States of Consciousness
  • Cosmic Flow
  • Psychedelic
  • User Experience
  • Virtual Reality

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Software


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