PhD Defense

Joakim Vindenes

March 30, 2023

09:00 - 9:45 Trial lecture: Is Immersion the Key? 10:15 - 14:00 Defence

Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium A, University of Bergen

What effects does virtual reality technology have on us? PhD Candidate at SLATE, Joakim Vindenes, will defend his PhD thesis on the interaction between human beings and VR technology.



The thesis looks at user experiences with interaction between human beings and virtual reality technology. VR is a unique technology in the way that it can structure our experience; in an experience context, it can change our environment, but also change our visual presentation of ourselves through an embodiment of different ‘avatars’. Where we are present, and who we are present as, can successively affect how we relate to ourselves and to the world.

A photo of a young man with blond hair and glasses.
Joakim Vindenes, PhD Candidate at SLATE. Photo: Eivind Flobak.

The thesis presents a theoretical-philosophical framework to understand this power of influence, where the VR experience is understood from the perspective of the user-environment relation that arises through the technology. Further, a new method for approaching the user experience of VR that is based on this theoretical framework, and which allows the user-environment relation to be studied. Both the method and the framework is demonstrated through an empirical study of virtual mind palaces over time— where the user experience of relating to the virtual environment is studied qualitatively.

Even though VR technologies are not yet wide-spread technologies in the general populace, it’s important to have a varied set of tools to understand the effects that the technologies can have on human beings; our perception of ourselves and the world around us. Here, the qualitative aspect of this thesis stands as complimentary in relation to more quantitative scientific methods.


Joakim Vindenes (born 1993) grew up in Sotra in Western Norway, and he is now living in Bergen. Vindenes has a master’s degree in information science from the University of Bergen. Today, his work focuses on VR technology as a software developer at Equinor.

Joakim Vindenes also runs the research and philosophy blog Matrise, where he discusses concepts of Virtual Reality related to Philosophy on Consciousness and Experience.

Trial Lecture and PhD Defense

Joakim Vindenes’ trial lecture takes place at Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium A, at 09:00 – 09:45 on Thursday March 30th. The topic of the lecture: “Is immersion the key?” The PhD defense is at 10:15 – 14:00, and will take place at the same venue.

The first opponent for Joakim’s PhD defense is Kristina Höök, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Professor Höök is one of the world’s leading researchers on Human-computer interaction (HCI). The second opponent is Assistant Professor Brendan Rooney from the University College Dublin in Ireland.

Professor Barbara Wasson, Director at SLATE, is Joakim's PhD supervisor.

Joakim Vindenes’ trial lecture and PhD defense are open to everybody, and all are welcome to attend! There will be a reception at SLATE (Christiesgate 12, 2nd floor) after the disputas.


PLEASE NOTE: On Wednesday March 29th at 15:15 - 16:30, Professor Kristina Höök will also be holding a guest lecture on the second floor of SLATE’s offices at the Faculty of Psychology, Christies gate 12. The topic of the guest lecture is “Soma Design – Designing with the Whole Body”.

‍Visiting Address:

Christiesgate 12, 2nd floor

Postal Address:

University of Bergen
PO Box 7807
N-5020 Bergen, Norway