Virtual reality applications with virtual humans, such as virtual reality exposure therapy, health coaches, and negotiation simulators, are developed for different contexts and usually for users from different countries. The emphasis on a virtual human’s emotional expression depends on the application; some virtual reality applications need an emotional expression of the virtual human during the speaking phase, some during the listening phase and some during both speaking and listening phases.
Freeman et al. reported that a substantial minority of the general population has paranoid thoughts while exposed in a virtual environment. This suggested that in a development phase of a virtual reality exposure system for paranoid patients initially a non-clinical sample could be used to evaluate the system's ability to induce paranoid thoughts. To increase the efficiency of such an evaluation, this paper takes the position that when appropriately primed a larger group of a non-clinical sample will display paranoid thoughts.
Mental illnesses have been identified as a major cause for disability and responsible for an extensive share of the global burden of diseases worldwide. Likewise psychological factors have been associated with physical health and illnesses. This motivated research into the field of mental health computing, which focuses on computer support systems for understanding, preventing, and relieving psychologically based distress or dysfunction, but also on electronic coaching of individuals to promote wellness.
This review describes the state-of-the-art technologies that support mental resilience training for PTSD prevention. It characterizes four current systems across training approaches; seeks insights via interviews with the system developers; and extracts from these a set of essential guidelines for future developers. The guidelines include four distinct project-limiting factors, which were found to constrain the reviewed developments. These were Culture, Effectiveness, Engineering, and Resource constraints.
People with social phobia have a severe fear of everyday social situations. In this paper we describe a virtual reality exposure therapy system specifically designed to expose patients with social phobia to various social situations. Patients can engage in a free speech dialogue with avatars while being monitored by a therapist. To control phobic stressors, therapists can control the avatar’s gaze, the avatar’s dialogue style and the narrative stories that are embedded throughout the exposure.
People experience different levels of presence and different levels of cybersickness even though they are immersed in the same virtual environment setting. In the current study, we raised the question how differences in individual characteristics might relate to differences in sensed presence for a virtual environment related to public speaking. The individual characteristics included in the experiment were related to visual abilities, personality traits, cognitive styles, and demographic factors.