October 17, 2019 Joris van Gend

Immersive Exposure Studies

Immersion therapy is a area of research within the health domain that has a long history. Confronting someone with their fear in a controlled manner can have great effects on their suffering. At times, however, it is highly impractical. Imagine bringing someone with a fear of heights to a high place in the middle of winter or ensuring that a patient gets only limited exposure to spiders. Virtual Reality helped remove this barrier by allowing for a highly immersive experience in a very tightly controlled environment that is only limited by the developer’s imagination. VR and simulation are thus big technologies within immersive exposure studies.

VR goggle from the HTC Vive

Virtual Reality (VR) and simulations

Virtual reality allows for the creation of highly immersive simulations, in which the participants often forget that they are partaking in a study. This allows for the observation of more genuine behavior in a highly flexible setting without risking the safety of the participant. Risk and safety researchers therefore often use VR and may supplement it with questionnaires or physiological measurements.