Virtual reality has been used to measure abnormal social characteristics, particularly in one-to-one situations. In real life, however, conversations with multiple companions are common and more complicated than two-party conversations. In this study, we explored the features of social behaviors in patients with schizophrenia during virtual multiparty conversations. Twenty-three patients with schizophrenia and 22 healthy controls performed the virtual three-party conversation task, which included leading and aiding avatars, positive- and negative-emotion-laden situations, and listening and speaking phases. Patients showed a significant negative correlation in the listening phase between the amount of gaze on the between-avatar space and reasoning ability, and demonstrated increased gaze on the between-avatar space in the speaking phase that was uncorrelated with attentional ability. These results suggest that patients with schizophrenia have active avoidance of eye contact during three-party conversations. Virtual reality may provide a useful way to measure abnormal social characteristics during multiparty conversations in schizophrenia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Health Informatics