Reducing Anxiety and Depression through Programs on a High Immersive Virtual Reality Headset

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Abstract

The work is aimed at considering the influence of modern special training programs in virtual reality (VR) on personality anxiety in adolescence. Materials of empirical research obtained on a sample of students of 2-4 courses of Moscow and Smolensk universities are presented. Respondents aged from 19 to 24 years old participated in the study 1 (N=15) (using the training VR environment with a first-person avatar) and 2 (N=24) (using the training VR program with an anthropomorphic avatar (female) (third-person). To diagnose anxiety we used methods: Spielberger-Hanin Self-Assessment Anxiety Test, A.T. Beck Anxiety Scale. A single-factor experimental design with independent groups was used; dependent variables were different types of anxiety, independent variables were the parameters of subjects' work with the training VR-program of high immersiveness. The results show that the high level training VR environment has a significant effect on anxiety reduction. Both personal and situational anxiety, as well as the general level of anxiety, decreased. In the control samples, either anxiety decreases, but at a much lower level, or no change occurs. Psychosemantic analysis of consciousness indicates changes not only in the conscious plan (connections between connotative meanings), but also in unconscious attitudes about one's anxiety state (manifested in the triad of depression: decreased mood, ideomotor and motor retardation). In general, VR programs with avatars should be considered as effective technologies and means of changing functional personality properties, in particular anxiety.

General Information

Keywords: virtual reality, training programs in VR, avatar, animation, personality, situational anxiety

Journal rubric: Psychology of Digital Reality

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/exppsy.2023160203

Funding. Part of the experimental work was carried out within the state task of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation (2020-22) №73-00041-21-02 "Influence of Higher Level Virtual Reality Technologies on Mental Development in Adolescence".

Acknowledgements. The authors would like to thank programmer E.M. Agafonov, psychologist A.A. Shamshev for their help in creating high-tech VR products.

Received: 17.04.2023

Accepted:

For citation: Barabanschikov V.A., Selivanov V.V. Reducing Anxiety and Depression through Programs on a High Immersive Virtual Reality Headset. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2023. Vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 36–48. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2023160203. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Vladimir A. Barabanschikov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Director, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5084-0513, e-mail: vladimir.barabanschikov@gmail.com

Vladimir V. Selivanov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of General Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Head of the Chair of General Psychology, Smolensk State University, Smolensk, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8386-591X, e-mail: vvsel@list.ru

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