• Andreas Junker
  • Carl Hanefeld-Møller Hutters
  • Daniel Boonma Reipur
  • Lasse Embøl Sørensen
4. term, Medialogy, Master (Master Programme)
The study presents an investigation of the potential of using immersive VR (IVR) experiences in the field of cue exposure therapy for individuals with alcohol use disorder. Current tools of eliciting craving for therapists to teach coping skills do not fully consider the complexity of alcohol cues, with emphasis on the effect of social presence and social pressure, and do not properly represent high-risk situations experienced by individuals in reality, leading to transfer gaps and missing learning generalizations. Therefore, tools should approach real-life situations as much as possible, leading to the experiments presented in this study. A within-subjects experiment (n=25, m=16, f=9, SD=38.3) utilized a novel presence-matching design, exploring which elements of a 3D-IVR experience of a virtual bar environment contributed to participants' subjective feelings of presence by letting them upgrade certain parameters of the environment. Results showed a strong preference for upgrading parameters of, in order, soundscape richness, virtual agent animations, virtual agent reactions, and geometric realism. However, subjective intervals chosen for parameter fidelities in the implementation could skew results. Another within-subjects experiment (n=26, m=15, f=10, SD=30.83) compared a virtual bar environment in a 3D-IVR experience with a similar 360-IVR experience, comparing reported feelings of alcohol craving (F(2,75)=13.7, p=.995), as well as feelings of presence through illusions of place (PI) (F(2,75)=8.38, p=.017) and plausibility (Psi) (F(2,75)=19.1, p=.014), triangulated with physiological measures and a qualitative follow-up assessment. A neutral virtual scene of a forest was used to obtain baselines between every virtual bar condition. While results showed a statistically significant difference in feelings of PI and Psi with a slight preference for the 360-IVR experience, differences in reported feelings of alcohol craving were statistically insignificant. Interestingly, physiological data revealed greater levels of affect in the 3D-IVR experience. Regardless of conditions, both comparisons of conditions with the neutral forest scene was statistically significant for craving (F(2,75)=13.7, p=.001), suggesting a potential for an IVR-experience of a virtual bar to be able to induce feelings of craving in individuals.
Publication date28 May 2021
Number of pages45
ID: 413116918