A mobile virtual reality system, equipped with built-in variables such as heart rate (HR), gaze-down data, and subjective fear rating, can allow individuals with a fear of heights to overcome it by self-training. This study aimed to verify the efficacy and safety of the training program. Forty-eight volunteers completed the four-session self-training program over 2 weeks. They were allocated into either low- or high-fear group by the Acrophobia Questionnaire (AQ)-anxiety scores, and then the changes of the built-in variables and AQ-anxiety scores were analyzed between the groups. The safety was assessed using the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ). The AQ-anxiety scores were significantly decreased after self-training in both groups, and the degree of decrease was significantly greater in the high-fear group than in the low-fear group. Gaze-down percentage and subjective fear rating showed a significant group difference, but HR did not. The SSQ scores were within the acceptable level. These results suggest that the training effect was greater in the high-fear group than in the low-fear group. This mobile program may be safely applicable to self-training for individuals with high scores on the fear of heights by repeated exposure to virtual environments with the embedded feedback system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Dr. J.-J.K. was contracted by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., to develop the program and collect participant data. The funding source provided the concept, and technical and visual support in developing the VR mobile application. However, it had no role in the conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, interpretation of the data, as well as in the preparation, review, and decision to submit the article for publication.
© 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Computer Science Applications