Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual reality offers solution to driving phobias

Date:
November 30, 2009
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Nervous drivers are being helped to overcome their road phobias by donning Cyclops-style goggles that transport them to a three-dimensional virtual world. Researchers have recruited volunteers with a variety of driving phobias to test whether virtual reality can be used alongside conventional psychological therapies to help tackle their fears.

Nervous drivers are being helped to overcome their road phobias by donning Cyclops-style goggles that transport them to a three-dimensional virtual world.

Researchers at The University of Manchester have recruited volunteers with a variety of driving phobias to test whether virtual reality can be used alongside conventional psychological therapies to help tackle their fears.

The Virtual Reality Exposure Treatment (VRET) will allow participants to drive on virtual roads and confront their fears, whether they might be driving over bridges, overtaking slow-moving traffic or taking to the motorway or dual-carriageway.

"Phobias may develop from a real-life event but the levels of anxiety and avoidance that results becomes wholly disproportionate to the incident that led to the phobia and can become a major disruption to the way people lead their lives," said Caroline Williams, who will be carrying out the research in Manchester's School of Psychological Sciences.

"A fear of driving, whether it has developed following a road traffic accident or for other reasons, can escalate into a situation where individuals are too scared to drive at all.

"The advantage of using VRET is that it can be carried out in a safe environment rather than on real roads, which in extreme cases, could put the volunteers, therapists and possibly other road-users at risk through the adoption of defensive driving behaviours, such as braking harder or going slow on motorways, by the phobic subject. It also helps the person with a phobia to tolerate the level of exposure to the fear as it is tightly controlled."

The volunteers will wear the hi-tech goggles, which resemble those worn by the X-Men character Cyclops, to transport them into a virtual driving world, while sensors placed on their fingertips and chest area will measure anxiety levels.

Some of the volunteers taking part in the study have developed their phobia following an accident but others have no obvious cause. Among the phobias are fears of driving over bridges and fears of motorways: even the sight of blue motorway signs can be a trigger for some people.

Ms Williams added: "Many of our volunteers have found it difficult to get treatment for their phobia through the NHS and, as a result, have been untreated for many years. The virtual scenario will allow volunteers to come to terms with and challenge their own fear in a safe and controlled environment. We hope this will result in less resistance to treatment, increased awareness of the need for such treatments and may even reduce the amount of time people spend in therapy due to its efficiency.

"Future studies could use the virtual treatment to tackle other phobias which could mean a major breakthrough in this type of therapy; the possibilities could be endless."

The research, which is being led by Professor Nick Tarrier, has been funded by the European Union.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Virtual reality offers solution to driving phobias." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029152047.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2009, November 30). Virtual reality offers solution to driving phobias. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029152047.htm
University of Manchester. "Virtual reality offers solution to driving phobias." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029152047.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins