Does Virtual Reality Elicit Physiological Arousal In Social Anxiety Disorder

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Owens, Maryann
Social anxiety disorder; social anxiety; adults; in vivo; sad; anxiety; virtual reality; vr; physiological arousal; physiology; public speaking; social phobia; phobia; speech; exposure therapy; vret; anxious; heart rate; hr; skin conductance; scl; skin conductance response; scr; respiratory sinus arrhythmia; rsa
thesis / dissertation description
The present study examined the ability of a Virtual Reality (VR) public speaking task to elicit physiological arousal in adults with SAD (n=25) and Controls (n=25). A behavioral assessment paradigm was employed to address three study objectives: (a) to determine whether the VR task can elicit significant increases in physiological response over baseline resting conditions (b) to determine if individuals with SAD have a greater increase from baseline levels of physiological and self-reported arousal during the in vivo speech task as opposed to the VR speech task and (c) to determine whether individuals with SAD experience greater changes in physiological and selfreported arousal during each speech task compared to controls. Results demonstrated that the VR task was able to elicit significant increases in heart rate, skin conductance, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia, but did not elicit as much physiological or self-reported arousal as the in vivo speech task. In addition, no differences were found between groups. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed