Library Dissertation Showcase

A virtual reality application to expose users to crowded environments: a study of presence and usability

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) is an innovative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique that exposes individuals to a hierarchy of anxiety-producing stimuli (North M. and North. S, 1997). This method of treatment allows participants to overcome phobias through progressive desensitisation. The purpose of this project is to create an environment that places users within varying crowd sizes. As a whole, the application will be tested for its ability to maintain presence, immersion and experience, alongside the usability of the system itself. Ultimately, the overall objective for the software is for it to be utilised as a therapy intervention. This would need further supervision and time to be undertaken, therefore, it is outside the scope of the project. Instead, the value of the application will be assessed, so that it could ultimately be given to psychology professionals. Resultingly, it was found that the application obtained a usability ranking of 83.4 and the scenes achieved a presence ranking of 82.6 and 81.3. This suggests that the system can be utilised as a therapeutic intervention due to the high usability and the high presence. The project demonstrated successfully that individuals were wholly immersed within the application and experienced an authentic environment that invoked genuine reactions.

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