Published:  2010-01-01

Analysis of Physiological Response to Neutral Virtual Reality Worlds

Authors:  Bert Busscher, Daniel Vlieger, Yun Ling, Willem-Paul Brinkman


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Using virtual reality technology for exposure therapy to treat patients with anxiety disorders is attracting considerable research attention. The ability to monitor patient anxiety level helps therapists to set appropriate anxiety arousing situations. Physiological measure has been put forward as objective indicator of anxiety levels. Because of individual variation, they need a baseline recording which is often conducted in neutral virtual world which does not include phobic stressors. Still because of the novelty of the virtual world, reports in the literature suggest that individuals already show some level of arousal when placed in these worlds. This paper presents two studies which look at the effect two different neutral virtual worlds can have on individuals. Findings suggest that a neutral world does not have to result in an increased level of arousal.