Visualization, Self-efficacy, and Locus of Control in a Virtual Reality Biofeedback Video Game
Date of Archiving2022
Radboud Data Repository
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Technology in medicine and health care
Key wordspsychological mechanisms; DEEP; visual feedback; dismantling study; biofeedback; E-health
The current study aimed to identify specific feedback mechanics and psychological processes that may contribute to positive outcomes in biofeedback applications for anxiety regulation. Specifically, using a dismantling study design, the unique impact of visualizations that directly mirror users’ breathing was examined in relation to anxiety regulation as well as locus of control and self-efficacy. Following an anxiety induction, participants (N = 67) were randomly assigned to play one of two variations of a biofeedback video game. In both versions, players’ in-game movement was contingent on their breathing; however, the experimental condition additionally included visualizations that directly mirrored players’ breathing. Changes in self-reported state anxiety and physiological arousal were measured as well as the level of internal control and self-efficacy participants experienced while playing the game. Results showed that all participants were able to effectively reduce their anxiety and arousal, but no condition differences were found. Implementing mirroring visualizations did not contribute to individuals’ ability to self-regulate nor their self-efficacy or locus of control above and beyond receiving feedback based on their in-game movement. Overall, individuals who experienced higher self-efficacy and a stronger internal locus of control were better able to regulate their anxiety, but no clear links were found with changes in self-reported physiological arousal. In light of these results, we recommend the continued exploration of the role of specific design choices and intervention components as well as underlying mechanisms of change in biofeedback interventions, especially pertaining to how individuals perceive themselves and their ability to change.