Creation of interactive virtual environments for exposure therapy through game-level editors

Comparison and tests on presence and anxiety

Eric Malbos*, Ronald M. Rapee, Manolya Kavakli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual reality and video games are becoming a part of everyday life. Computer games are provided with game-level editors (GLE), which allow the user to create customized virtual environments (VE). In a therapeutic framework, GLE's VEs combined with virtual reality have been used in many fields including psychotherapy. The present article comprises two studies. In the first study, criteria for selecting the most relevant GLE for the construction of interactive VEs are outlined. During the second study, the selected GLE was utilized to construct 9 distinct virtual situations in which a sample of 18 agoraphobics were immersed.Within each VE, the participants contended with their least feared situation and their most feared one. Questionnaires and physiological measures demonstrated increased levels of presence and anxiety within the feared VEs. There was a significant correlation between presence and anxiety. These data indicate that GLE's interactive worlds combined with VR offers a viable possibility to establish a therapeutic environment at an affordable cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-837
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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