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Augmented Reality Exposure Therapy against Roaches

by on May 17, 2010

In an experiment that the sheer thought makes my own skin crawl, researchers in Spain have conducted research in using Augmented Reality headsets to “virtually” swarm a patient with roaches in a type of extreme exposure therapy.

Participants in the study sit at a desk with a computer wearing a virtual reality headset. The headset has a camera attached, such that the person wearing it will see a video representation of the desk that they’re looking at. But with cockroaches.

They wrote a paper about the research which is in the latest “Cyberpsychology” journal. The initial test was only on 6 individuals, making it a rather small sample.  NeoAcademic claims that it might be because it is difficult to find people with Cockroach phobias.  That must be a Spanish thing then, as I know dozens of people (myself included) who can’t stand the little buggers.

The research does remind me of some earlier work done with CAVE’s and HMD’s on things like Vertigo and other fears.  Seems Virtual Reality and Psychology have always had an interesting relationship.

via Fight Your Fear of Cockroaches With Augmented Reality | Thoughts of a Neo-Academic.