Research on virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) has demonstrated good treatment efficacy with regards to several anxiety disorders. Yet, there is lack of knowledge about the value of integrating interaction between clients and virtual humans in VRET. Such interaction might prove effective in treating psychological complaints that involve social interactions, such as social anxiety.
Considerable research focuses on enhancing the sense of being present in a virtual environment. But why, you might ask? Is this only for fun or does it also serve a therapeutic purpose? The latter seems to be the case. For virtual reality exposure therapy used to treat patients with anxiety disorders (e.g. fear of height, fear of flying, and social phobia), the feeling of presence correlates positively with the amount of anxiety experienced, a key ingredient for this type of therapy.
Why does one interview feel like an energy boost, while another one feels like a complete disaster? Or more importantly, what happens to you in a job interview and why? As it turns out, what the interviewer is saying has a significant impact on you. Especially, the way questions are formulated and the replies you get on your answers.
Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) has been shown to be effective in treatment of anxiety disorders. Yet, there is lack of research on the extent to which interaction between the individual and virtual humans can be successfully implanted to increase levels of anxiety for therapeutic purposes. This proof-of-concept pilot study aimed at examining levels of the sense of presence and anxiety during exposure to virtual environments involving social interaction with virtual humans and using different virtual reality displays.
Virtual reality exposure therapy has been proposed as a viable alternative in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder. Therapists could benefit from extensive control of anxiety eliciting stimuli during virtual exposure. Two stimuli controls are studied in this study: the social dialogue situation, and the dialogue feedback responses (negative or positive) between a human and a virtual character. In the first study, 16 participants were exposed in three virtual reality scenarios: a neutral virtual world, blind date scenario, and job interview scenario.
To test whether synthetic emotions expressed by a virtual human elicit positive or negative emotions in a human conversation partner and affect satisfaction towards the conversation, an experiment was conducted where the emotions of a virtual human were manipulated during both the listening and speaking phase of the dialogue. Twenty-four participants were recruited and were asked to have a real conversation with the virtual human on six different topics.
Currently, expressive virtual humans are used in psychological research, training, and psychotherapy. However, the behavior of these virtual humans is usually scripted and therefore cannot be modified freely at run time. To address this, we created a virtual audience with parameterized behavioral styles. This paper presents a parameterized audience model based on probabilistic models abstracted from the observation of real human audiences (n = 16). The audience's behavioral style is controlled by model parameters that define virtual humans' moods, attitudes, and personalities.
In this paper we report two experiments in which the effect of perspective projection on presence and space perception was investigated. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to score a presence questionnaire when looking at a virtual classroom. We manipulated the vantage point, the viewing mode (binocular versus monocular viewing), the display device/screen size (projector versus TV) and the center of projection. At the end of each session of Experiment 1, participants were asked to set their preferred center of projection such that the image seemed most natural to them.
Initial studies with healthy subjects and individuals with high risk for psychosis have suggested that virtual reality (VR) environments may be used to investigate social and psychological mechanisms of psychosis. One small study reported that VR can safely be used in individuals with current persecutory delusions. The present pilot study investigated the feasibility and potential negative side effects of exposure to different virtual social risk environments in patients with first episode psychosis and in healthy controls.
Having a free-speech conversation with avatars in a virtual environment can be desirable in virtual reality applications, such as virtual therapy and serious games. However, recognizing and processing free speech seems too ambitious to realize with the current technology. As an alternative, pre-scripted conversations with keyword detection can handle a number of goal-oriented situations, as well as some scenarios in which the conversation content is of secondary importance.