Contrasting the effectiveness and efficiency of virtual reality and real environments in the treatment of acrophobia

Coelho, Carlos M., Silva, Carlos F., Santos, Jorge A., Tichon,Jennifer and Wallis, Wallis (2008) Contrasting the effectiveness and efficiency of virtual reality and real environments in the treatment of acrophobia. PsychNology, 6 2: 203-216.

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Author Coelho, Carlos M.
Silva, Carlos F.
Santos, Jorge A.
Tichon,Jennifer
Wallis, Wallis
Title Contrasting the effectiveness and efficiency of virtual reality and real environments in the treatment of acrophobia
Journal name PsychNology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1720-7525
Publication date 2008-01-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 6
Issue 2
Start page 203
End page 216
Total pages 14
Editor Luciano Gamberini
Giuseppe Riva
Anna Spagnolli
Place of publication Padova, Italy
Publisher Psychnology
Language eng
Subject C1
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
Abstract Previous studies reported good results in using virtual reality for the treatment of acrophobia. Similarly this paper reports the use of a virtual environment for the treatment of acrophobia. In the study, 10 subjects were exposed to three sessions of simulated heights in a virtual reality (VR) system, and 5 others were exposed to a real environment. Both groups revealed significant progress in a range of anxiety, avoidance and behaviour measurements when confronted with virtual as well as real height circumstances. Despite VR participants experiencing considerably shorter treatment times than the real-world subjects, significant improvements were recorded on the Behavioural Avoidance Test, the Attitudes Toward Heights Questionnaire and the Acrophobia Questionnaire. These results are suggestive of a possible higher effectiveness and efficiency of VR in treating acrophobia.
Formatted abstract
Previous studies reported good results in using virtual reality for the treatment of acrophobia. Similarly this paper reports the use of a virtual environment for the treatment of acrophobia. In the study, 10 subjects were exposed to three sessions of simulated heights in a virtual reality (VR) system, and 5 others were exposed to a real environment. Both groups revealed significant progress in a range of anxiety, avoidance and behaviour measurements when confronted with virtual as well as real height circumstances. Despite VR participants experiencing considerably shorter treatment times than the real-world subjects, significant improvements were recorded on the Behavioural Avoidance Test, the Attitudes Toward Heights Questionnaire and the Acrophobia Questionnaire. These results are suggestive of a possible higher effectiveness and efficiency of VR in treating acrophobia.
Keyword Acrophobia
Heights
Virtual reality
Fear
Treatment
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 39/98
SFRH/BPD/26922/2006
Institutional Status UQ

 
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