Does Augmented Reality Affect Sociability, Entertainment, and Learning? A Field Experiment

Nina Savela, Atte Oksanen, Markus Kaakinen, Marius Noreikis, Yu Xiao

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Augmented reality (AR) applications have recently emerged for entertainment and educational purposes and have been proposed to have positive effects on social interaction. In this study, we investigated the impact of a mobile, indoor AR feature on sociability, entertainment, and learning. We conducted a field experiment using a quiz game in a Finnish science center exhibition. We divided participants (N = 372) into an experimental group (AR app users) and two control groups (non-AR app users; pen-and-paper participants), including 28 AR users of follow-up interviews. We used Kruskal–Wallis rank test to compare the experimental groups and the content analysis method to explore AR users’ experiences. Although interviewed AR participants recognized the entertainment value and learning opportunities for AR, we did not detect an increase in perceived sociability, social behavior, positive affect, or learning performance when comparing the experimental groups. Instead, AR interviewees experienced a strong conflict between the two different realities. Despite the engaging novelty value of new technology, performance and other improvements do not automatically emerge. We also discuss potential conditional factors. Future research and development of AR and related technologies should note the possible negative effects of dividing attention to both realities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • augmented reality
  • sociability
  • social interaction
  • entertainment
  • learning

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