Mild stress stimuli built into a non-immersive virtual environment can elicit actual stress responses

Mohammed Alghamdi, Holger Regenbrecht, Simon Hoermann, Nicola Swain
2017 Behavior and Information Technology  
The experience of Virtual Reality (VR) can lead to unwanted or wanted psychological stress reactions. Highly immersive VR games for instance utilise extreme, life-threatening, or dangerous situations to achieve those responses from their players. There is also sufficient evidence that in clinical settings and specific situations, such as fear of heights or post-traumatic stress, virtual stimuli can lead to perceived stress for clients. However, there is a gap in research targeting everyday,
more » ... emotional stimuli, which are neither extreme nor specific and which are not presented in an immersive system. To what extent can common stimuli in a non-immersive virtual environment elicit actual stress reactions for its users? We developed a desktop VR system and evaluated it in a study with 54 participants. We could show that virtual stimuli in a common, domestic family environment led to a significant increase in perceived stress as measured by quantitative (self-reports) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews analysed with a General Inductive Approach (GIA)) responses. The results also showed that the introduction of virtual stimuli induced significantly higher levels of perceived workload and sense of presence and led to different physiological reactions. These findings have implications for the design and implementation of non-immersive VR systems. ARTICLE HISTORY
doi:10.1080/0144929x.2017.1311374 fatcat:yeu7e5pmxbb3ngccrg3cjranpu