University of Twente Student Theses


Virtual Reality and Game Mechanics in Generalized Social Phobia Treatment

Niechwiadowicz, Karolina Julia (2017) Virtual Reality and Game Mechanics in Generalized Social Phobia Treatment.

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Abstract:Psychiatric disorders are becoming a serious health challenge. Anxiety disorders are the most common - in 2011, 10.1 million people in EU were suffering from social anxiety. The treatment of social phobia can be quite costly and also complicated, given the necessity to recreate and repeat certain social situations. This is why Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming a popular solution among therapists. In VR, the exposure can be adjusted to the patient's needs, it is more safe, controllable, and cost effective. It has so far been proven to be as effective as the conventional treatment- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Most of the research, however, focuses on specific phobias such as fear of public speaking, while social phobia is more complex and can affect any social situation. Furthermore, research up to date has not taken into account the user experience for both patients and therapists, but only focuses on the effectiveness of VR exposure. Therefore, the goal of this thesis is to investigate possible implementation of VR in exposure therapy, in cooperation with therapists and ex-patients. The program will combine a variety of social situations with some game aspects, as the leveled structure of a game goes in line with the traditional CBT, where patients are gradually exposed to the feared stimuli. The levels will vary in degree of exposure and interaction, where participants have to face avatars with friendly or unfriendly attitudes, as well as explore different parts of the environment.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:50 technical science in general, 54 computer science, 77 psychology
Programme:Interaction Technology MSc (60030)
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