Alcoholism is a disease that affects parts of the brain that control emotion, decisions, and behavior. Therapy for people with alcoholism must address coping skills for facing high-risk situations. Therefore, it is important to develop tools to mimic such conditions. Cue exposure therapy (CET) provides high-risk situations during treatment, which raises the individual's ability to recognize that alcohol craving is being induced. Using CET, it is hard to simulate situations that induce alcohol craving. By contrast, virtual reality (VR) approaches can present realistic situations that cannot be experienced directly in CET. Therefore, we hypothesized that is possible to model social pressure situations using VR. We developed a VR system for inducing alcohol craving under social pressure situations and measured both the induced alcohol craving and head gaze of participants. A 2 × 2 experimental model (alcohol-related locality vs. social pressure) was designed. In situations without an avatar (no social pressure), more alcohol craving was induced if alcohol was present than if it was not. And more alcohol craving was induced in situations with an avatar (social pressure) than in situations without an avatar (no social pressure). The difference of angle between the direction of head gazing and the direction of alcohol or avatar was smaller in situations with an avatar alone (social pressure) than in situations with alcohol alone. In situations with both alcohol and an avatar, the angle between the direction of head gaze and the direction of the avatar was smaller than between the direction of head gaze and the direction of the alcohol. Considering the results, this VR system induces alcohol craving using an avatar that can express various social pressure situations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction