Testing the efficacy of a virtual reality-based simulation in enhancing users’ knowledge, attitudes, and empathy relating to psychosis

Nicholas J. Formosa, Ben W. Morrison, Geoffrey Hill, Daniel Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The current study examined the efficacy of a virtual reality (VR) education system that simulates the experience of the positive symptomology associated with schizophrenic spectrum and other psychotic disorders. Method: The sample comprised of 50 participants from the general public and various psychology undergraduate programs. Participants completed pre-test measures exploring knowledge of diagnosis, attitudes, and empathetic understanding, before being exposed to an immersive VR simulation of a psychotic episode. Participants then completed the original measures with the addition of a user-experience scale, which explored sub-factors understood to share a relationship with VR effectiveness (i.e., fidelity, immersion, presence, and user buy-in). Results: Participants’ scores were significantly enhanced at post-test across each outcome measure, with significant correlations found between a number of the gain and user-experience scores. Conclusions: The findings suggest that VR-based simulations of psychopathology may offer a promising platform for delivering a constructionist approach to psychology education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Volume70
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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