Virtual Reality Vs. Imaginal Exposure Procedures On The Sense Of Presence Within Fearful Fliers.

Overview

Previous research suggests that aviophobia affects ten to 50 percent of the population and prevents people from visiting loved ones or obtaining employment. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has emerged as a method by which to conduct exposure therapy to treat aviophobia. VR is designed to allow clients to "feel like" they are on a plane without leaving the safety of a laboratory (i.e., sense of presence). The purpose of the current study was to determine whether a VR or Imaginal exposure procedure led participants...
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Overview

Previous research suggests that aviophobia affects ten to 50 percent of the population and prevents people from visiting loved ones or obtaining employment. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has emerged as a method by which to conduct exposure therapy to treat aviophobia. VR is designed to allow clients to "feel like" they are on a plane without leaving the safety of a laboratory (i.e., sense of presence). The purpose of the current study was to determine whether a VR or Imaginal exposure procedure led participants to feel a greater sense of presence. This research also explored whether sitting in an "airplane" or "regular" chair led participants to feel a greater sense of presence. Finally, the extent to which sense of presence is correlated with the experience of anxiety or emotionality was examined. Sixty undergraduate psychology students who indicated moderate to considerable aviophobia were recruited. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (1) VR/Airplane Chair, (2) VR/Regular Chair, (3) Imaginal/Airplane Chair, and (4) Imaginal/Regular Chair. Participants experienced a 20-minute "flight" after which they completed questionnaires on presence and emotionality. Results suggest that VR exposure led participants to feel like they were physically on a plane while Imaginal exposure led participants to perceive that the environment was lifelike and realistic. Significant differences did not emerge regarding the chair in which a participant sat, though the interaction of type of chair and exposure explained a large amount of variance in presence. Furthermore, feeling spatial presence and physiological pain were moderately related to anxiety and emotionality while feeling involved in the exposure scenario was not. This suggests that sense of presence is not a unitary phenomenon. Thus, several measures of presence may be critically flawed as most end with one "presence score." Because VR and Imaginal exposure have advantages and disadvantages regarding the ability to "convince" people that they are on an actual plane rather than in a laboratory, perhaps exposure through multiple modalities will be the most successful treatment for a disorder affecting millions of people. Implications for the treatment of aviophobia are discussed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243632883
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/4/2011
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.29 (d)

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