Adaptation as a sensorial profile in trait anxiety: A study with virtual reality

Isabelle Viaud-Delmon, Yuri P. Ivanenko, Alain Berthoz, Roland Jouvent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Twenty-four volunteers were recruited on the basis of their trait anxiety scores (low trait anxiety [LTA] and high trait anxiety [HTA]) as assessed by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Adaptation to conflicting visual-vestibular stimulation (VVS) was used to study integration of space-related multi-sensory information in trait anxiety. First, vestibular perception was assessed by rotating the blindfolded subjects about the vertical axis (horizontal plane rotations) on a remote-controlled mobile robot. The subjects were asked to indicate the perceived rotation by use of an angular pointer. Subjects were then immersed into the center of a visual virtual square room by means of a head-mounted display. They were asked to control the robot with a joystick in order to perform 90° rotations in the virtual room. However, a gain of 0.5 was introduced between visual scene and robot rotation so that the subjects were submitted to a conflict situation in which the 90° rotational visual input was concurrent with a 180° vestibular input. After 45 min of training with the virtual reality display, subjects were tested again in total darkness in order to determine whether their vestibular system had been reset by the conflicting visual signals. We found significant differences in adaptation to VVS between HTA and LTA groups as well as between males and females. Subjects of the HTA group demonstrated larger adaptation than that of the LTA group. Males also showed a greater level of adaptation compared to females. Our results suggest greater visual dependence in HTA subjects. This might be important for understanding the mechanisms underlying pathological anxiety and particularly agoraphobia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-601
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Multisensory integration
  • Sensory conflict
  • Vestibular perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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