Some clinicians have suggested using virtual reality environments to deliver psychological interventions to treat anxiety disorders. However, given a significant body of work on cybersickness symptoms which may arise in virtual environments - especially those involving simulated motion - we tested (a) whether being exposed to a virtual reality environment alone causes anxiety to increase, and (b) whether exposure to simulated motion in a virtual reality environment increases anxiety. Using a repeated measures design, we used Kim's Anxiety Scale questionnaire to compare baseline anxiety, anxiety after virtual environment exposure, and anxiety after simulated motion. While there was no significant effect on anxiety for being in a virtual environment with no simulated motion, the introduction of simulated motion caused anxiety to significantly increase, but not to a severe or extreme level. The implications of this work for virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) are discussed.
- Virtual reality exposure therapy