Virtual reality as empowering environment for personal change: The contribution of the applied technology for neuro-psychology laboratory

Giuseppe Riva, Andrea Gaggioli, Alessandra Gorini, Laura Carelli, Claudia Repetto, Davide Algeri, Cinzia Vigna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

When we exercise real choice, we gain increased control over our lives and are able to change ourselves. However for many subjects it is not easy to exercise effective choices: patients often don have the knowledge, skills, assertiveness, or self esteem needed. In this situation Virtual Reality (VR), an artificial reality that projects the user into a 3D space generated by the computer, may offer a critical advantage to the therapist. The enriched experience and the total level of control on its features, transform VR in an "empowering environment", where patients can start to explore and act without feeling actually threatened. The attempt of defining, developing and testing VR tools supporting personal empowerment is the main goal of the Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory -ATN-P Lab-at the Istituto Auxologico ltaliano. The paper describes the actual work done by the ATN-P Lab. in this area. Specifically, the open source "NeuroVR" system and its potential clinical applications -anxiety disorders, obesity and eating disorders- are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-192
Number of pages22
JournalAnuario de Psicologia
Volume40
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Keywords

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Empowerment
  • Obesity and eating disorders
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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