Modulation of tactile perception by Virtual Reality distraction: The role of individual and VR-related factors
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SourcePLoS One, 13, 12, (2018), article e0208405
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 3: Plasticity and Memory; Neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Radboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Background: Virtual reality (VR) has shown to be an effective distraction method in health care. However, questions remain regarding individual and VR-related factors that may modulate the effect of VR. Purpose: To explore the effect of VR distraction on tactile perception thresholds in healthy volunteers, in relation to personal characteristics and interactivity of VR applications. Methods: A randomized three way cross-over study was conducted to investigate the effects of active and passive VR applications in 50 healthy participants. Main outcome measures were monofilament detection thresholds (MDT) and electrical detection thresholds (EDT). Personal characteristics (e.g. age, gender, susceptibility for immersion) and immersion in the VR conditions were analyzed for their effect on VR induced threshold differences. Results: The use of VR caused a significant increase in both MDT and EDT compared to the control condition (MDT: F (2, 76) = 20.174, p < 0.001; EDT F (2, 76) = 6.907, p = 0.002). Furthermore, a significant difference in favour of active VR compared to passive VR was found in MDT (p = 0.012), but not in EDT. No significant gender effect was found. There was a significant positive correlation between age and active VR distraction (r = 0.333, p = 0.018). Immersion in the VR world was positively correlated with the effect of VR, whereas visualization and daydreaming were negatively correlated with VR effects. Conclusion: VR increased tactile perception thresholds, with active VR having the largest effect. Results indicate that the efficacy of VR may increase with increasing age. Gender did not affect VR susceptibility.
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