The practice of treating phobias with Virtual Reality-based therapies is a well-established field. Understanding the level of realism required by the therapy to be most effective is an essential matter of study. This research aims to explore the effects of visual realism on the emotional response in subjects with social phobia when exposed to VR-based applications. Social phobias are triggered by the presence of other people, which translated into virtual environments, refers to avatars. Our hypothesis is that patients with social phobia experience different emotional response to humanlike avatars compared to people without social phobia. To try the hypothesis, a prototype-based survey is conducted. Three types of avatars are implemented with different levels of human likeness: low, medium, and high. The analysis of the collected data suggests that for people with social phobias the anxiety is lowest for avatars with high levels of human likeness. This result is in direct contrast with the uncanny valley effect theory. The research explores how we should design virtual environments to make them more effective in the treatment of phobias. Moreover, the research produces new knowledge about the perception of humanlike avatars in virtual reality.

Stefanova, M., Pillan, M., Gallace, A. (2021). Influence of realistic virtual environments and humanlike avatars on patients with social phobia. In Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference (pp.1-7). American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) [10.1115/DETC2021-70265].

Influence of realistic virtual environments and humanlike avatars on patients with social phobia

Gallace, A
2021

Abstract

The practice of treating phobias with Virtual Reality-based therapies is a well-established field. Understanding the level of realism required by the therapy to be most effective is an essential matter of study. This research aims to explore the effects of visual realism on the emotional response in subjects with social phobia when exposed to VR-based applications. Social phobias are triggered by the presence of other people, which translated into virtual environments, refers to avatars. Our hypothesis is that patients with social phobia experience different emotional response to humanlike avatars compared to people without social phobia. To try the hypothesis, a prototype-based survey is conducted. Three types of avatars are implemented with different levels of human likeness: low, medium, and high. The analysis of the collected data suggests that for people with social phobias the anxiety is lowest for avatars with high levels of human likeness. This result is in direct contrast with the uncanny valley effect theory. The research explores how we should design virtual environments to make them more effective in the treatment of phobias. Moreover, the research produces new knowledge about the perception of humanlike avatars in virtual reality.
No
paper
Avatar visualization; Social phobia; Uncanny valley; UX-user experience; Virtual reality;
English
41st Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, CIE 2021, Held as Part of the ASME 2021 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2021
978-0-7918-8537-6
Stefanova, M., Pillan, M., Gallace, A. (2021). Influence of realistic virtual environments and humanlike avatars on patients with social phobia. In Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference (pp.1-7). American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) [10.1115/DETC2021-70265].
Stefanova, M; Pillan, M; Gallace, A
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/363342
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