Increased personal space of patients with schizophrenia in a virtual social environment

Sung Hyouk Park, Jeonghun Ku, Jae Jin Kim, Hee Jeong Jang, So Young Kim, Soo Hyun Kim, Chan Hyung Kim, Hyeongrae Lee, In Young Kim, Sun I. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Virtual reality may be a good alternative method for measuring personal space and overcoming some limitations in previous studies on the social aspects of schizophrenia. Using this technology, we aimed to investigate the characteristics of personal space in patients with schizophrenia and evaluate the relationship between their social behaviors and schizophrenic symptoms. The distance from a virtual person and the angle of head orientation while talking to a virtual person in a virtual environment were measured in 30 patients with schizophrenia and 30 normal controls. It was found that patients with schizophrenia had longer distances and larger angles than did normal controls. The severity of the negative syndrome had significant inverse correlations with the distance from the angry and neutral virtual persons and with the angle of head orientation toward the happy and angry virtual persons, suggesting that negative symptoms may have a close relationship with personal space, including distancing and eye gaze. The larger personal space of patients may reflect their discomfort in close situations or cognitive deficits. Showing these profiles to patients could help them realize the amount of personal space they need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume169
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 30

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant No. (R01-2004-000-10906-0) from the Basic Research Program of the Korea Science & Engineering Foundation.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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