Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 9-16
USING VIRTUAL REALITY EMOTIONAL HUMAN AGENTS AS A RELATIVE-SCORED PERSONALITY MEASURE
I. Tarnanas, J. Wasserstrom, & O. Giotakos
There are a variety of old and recent studies, which indicate that self-report measures of personality appear
susceptible to biased responses, especially when administered in competitive environments (e.g., Barrick &
Mount, 1996; Ones, Viswesvaran, & Reiss, 1996; Hirsh & Peterson, 2008). According to these studies, respondents can typically selectively enhance their positive traits while downplaying negative ones. Consequently, it can be difficult to achieve an accurate representation of personality when there is motivation for favorable self-presentation. In this paper we introduce a virtual reality strategy for relatively scoring an individual’s personality by means of virtual emotional human agents. Over the last five years, the technology for creating virtual humans (VHs) has evolved to the point where they are no longer regarded as simple background characters, but rather can serve a functional interactional role. Our current project involves the construction of a virtual emotional human agent that animates a personality description. The virtual human’s personality descriptors used in the current study were taken from the IPIP five factor questionnaires, including the IPIP NEO, BFI, and the Big Five items from the Seven Factor questionnaire. The paper aims to describe the basic system architecture used for this virtual reality emotional human agents (VREHA) scored measure of the Big Five, which can be constructed as an alternative to questionnaire responding.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 17-26
THE GENERAL HEALTH STATUS OF HEAVY VIDEO GAME PLAYERS: COMPARISONS WITH AUSTRALIAN NORMATIVE DATA
D. King & P. Delfabbro
The health-related quality of life among heavy users of electronic entertainment has not been well described
in literature. This research examined the general health status of heavy video game players. “Heavy”
video game playing was defined as (a) playing for over 30 hours per week, (b) playing for at least 4 days per
week, and (c) playing for an average duration of 3 hours in a typical sitting. A total of 411 participants
were drawn from video game outlets and gaming cafes, and administered a survey package. The heavy playing
subgroup (N=45) scored significantly lower on measures of physical functioning, mental health, vitality,
general health and social functioning than normal Australian adults. The majority of this subgroup also
did not meet national guidelines for weekly exercise and reported some sleep-related problems.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 27-34
INTERACTIVITY INFLUENCES THE MAGNITUDE OF
VIRTUAL REALITY ANALGESIA
R. Wender, H. Hoffman, H. Hunner, E. Seibel , D. Patterson, & S. Sharar
Despite medication with opioids and other powerful pharmacologic pain medications, most patients rate
their pain during severe burn wound care as severe to excruciating. Excessive pain is a widespread medical
problem in a wide range of patient populations. Immersive virtual reality (VR) distraction may help
reduce pain associated with medical procedures. Recent research manipulating immersiveness has shown that a
high tech VR helmet reduces pain more effectively than a low tech VR helmet. The present study explores the
effect of interactivity on the analgesic effectiveness of virtual reality. Using a double blind design, in the present study, twenty-one volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups, and received a thermal
pain stimulus during either interactive VR, or during non-interactive VR. Subjects in both groups individually
glided through the virtual world, but one group could look around and interact with the environment
using the trackball, whereas participants in the other group had no trackball. Afterwards, each participant
provided subjective 0-10 ratings of cognitive, sensory and affective components of pain, and the amount of
fun during the pain stimulus. Compared to the noninteractive VR group, participants in the interactive VR
group showed 75% more reduction in pain unpleasantness (p < .005) and 74% more reduction in worst pain
(p < .005). Interactivity increased the analgesic effectiveness of immersive virtual reality.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 35-42
COMBINING A VIRTUAL REALITY SYSTEM WITH TREADMILL TRAINING FOR CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY
K. Kott, K. Lesher, G. DeLeo
This pilot study is a report of the combination of a virtual reality (VR) system with treadmill training for
children with cerebral palsy. The VR system includes an element of gaming to serve as a playful context to
motivate the children to walk for longer periods of time in treatment sessions. The children all expressed
pleasure in reaching the goal of saving the princess after walking for 9 hours. The intensive treadmill
practice helped the children make significant changes in walking performances (p=.02) and capabilities
(p=.05) as measured by the Standardized Walking Obstacle Course and Gross Motor Function Measure-
88, respectively. This virtual reality system, in the form of DVDs, provides additional support for the feasibility
and use of a virtual reality system in locomotion rehabilitation.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 43-52
INTERNET HELP AND THERAPY FOR ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOR
Counselling and psychotherapy have entered the computer age. Psychological advice, help and treatment for those with addictive behaviors are no exception. The paper overviews the main issues in the area and approaches the discussion acknowledging that online therapy has to be incorporated within the overall framework of the need for clinical assistance. The paper also provides brief overviews of what types of online help and therapy are available. This paper makes particular reference to online help forproblem gamblers and will overview a recent study that evaluates the effectiveness of an online help and guidance service for problem gamblers.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 53-66
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CASUAL VIDEO GAMES IN IMPROVING MOOD AND DECREASING STRESS
C. Russoniello, K. O’Brien, & J. Parks
Stress related medical disorders such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression are serious medical
issues that can cause disability and death. Techniques to prevent their development and exacerbation are needed. Casual video games (CVGs) are fun, easy to play, spontaneous and are tremendously popular. In this randomized controlled study we tested the effects of CVGs on mood and stress by comparing people playing CVGs with control subjects under similar conditions. Electroencephalography (EEG) changes during game
play were consistent with increased mood and corroborated findings on psychological reports. Moreover, heart
rate variability (HRV) changes were consistent with autonomic nervous system relaxation or decreased physical
stress. In some cases CVGs produced different brain wave, heart rate variability and psychological effects.
These finding have broad implications which include the potential development of prescriptive interventions
using casual video games to prevent and treat stress related medical disorders.
Journal of CyberTherapy and Rehabilitation, 2009, 2 (1), 67-79
ONLINE GROUP CREATIVITY: THE LINK BETWEEN THE ACTIVE PRODUCTION OF IDEAS AND PERSONALITY TRAITS
R. Zurlo & G. Riva
This article extends the findings in electronic brainstorming about the impact of personality traits on productivity and creativity in a web-based context of synchronous electronic brainstorming (instant messaging,
MSN messenger). The sample included 60 students (M= 20, F= 40, average age of 18 years old) from a
graphic advertising school. Participants were randomly assigned to ten groups of six subjects each. Each group
was asked to solve the shipwreck task using MSN messenger (text communication only), to identify which
objects and which actions were required to survive on a desert island after a shipwreck.
Results showed that group productivity and group creativity are strictly related both to the personality of the users and to the characteristics of the communication process. On the one hand, extroverted personality had a positive influence on the active production of ideas online. On the other, the choice of specific words able
to convey real-time feedback and strengthen discussion was a predictor of productivity and creativity performance. These findings provide some useful recommendations for improving productivity and creativity in the context of computer-supported collaborative tasks over the Internet.