The Influence of Autonomous Movement on Adverse Events in Relaxing Virtual Environments Using a Head-Mounted Display

JVRB, 15(2018), no. 1.: Background: Virtual reality has been increasingly
used to support established psychological interventions,
including relaxation techniques. Only limited
knowledge about the occurrence and severity of adverse
events (AE) (e.g. cybersickness) in relaxing virtual
environments is available. The aim of the study
was to assess the frequency of AE in virtual environments
and factors associated with these.

Methods: A sample of 30 healthy participants was
included in the study. The participants completed
questionnaires on susceptibility of motion sickness,
use of and attitudes towards modern technology prior
to the exposition to the virtual environment. They then
took part in three short virtual scenarios (no movement
of the avatar, steady non-autonomous movement, and
autonomous movement) using head-mounted displays
and rated the occurrence and severity of AE after each
scenario.

Results: The participants reported high incidence
rates of different AEs (40–70%), but only in the scenario
with autonomous movement. In the scenarios
with no or only limited control over movement approximately
30% reported slight symptoms of dizziness,
and 3–7% reported slight nausea. Nevertheless,
the occurrence of AEs resulted in reduced relaxation
and mood. Gender, age, and usage of computers and
gaming consoles had no influence on the incidence or
severity of AEs.

Discussion: Our results show that virtual reality is a
safe technology to be used in clinical psychology, if
certain parameters are being minded. Future studies
should routinely assess and report AEs in a structured
way, to enable more in–depth insights regarding influential
factors and potential prevention strategies.
Source: New feed

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