Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Russell, V;Barry, R;Murphy, D
2018 IEEE GAMES, ENTERTAINMENT, MEDIA CONFERENCE (GEM)
HAVE Experience: An Investigation into VR Empathy for Panic Disorder
2018
January
Validated
1
WOS: 3 ()
Optional Fields
VIRTUAL-REALITY EXPOSURE ANXIETY DISORDERS INTEROCEPTIVE EXPOSURE THERAPY
167
172
This paper presents a Virtual Reality (VR) system that was developed to increase empathy and understanding for panic disorder. The system is designed to give users a heightened awareness of the experience of those symptoms and a deeper, experiential understanding and empathy towards sufferers of panic attacks. VR provides an immersive and controllable experimental environment and serves as a safe dynamic test bed suitable for the study of this topic. The research uses the immersive auditory and visual modalities of VR as contributing factors for a positive empathetic experience, which may be used by medical professionals or those seeking a greater understanding of panic attack symptoms through first hand experience. The main goal is to assess whether the system is capable of imparting users with an enhanced level of understanding of panic attack symptoms leading to a greater sense of empathy. The paper describes the design and implementation of the 'HAVE Experience', and an initial experiment conducted with 26 subjects in a controlled environment. Participants were situated in a virtual elevator, where they were exposed to increasing levels of panic disorder symptoms in a controlled manner. The findings indicate that VR is a good medium for conveying empathetic experiences. Moreover the study revealed that an overwhelming majority of participants felt an increased level of empathy and understanding for panic attack sufferers.
Grant Details