Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 41–51 | Cite as

Training doctors’ social skills to break bad news: evaluation of the impact of virtual environment displays on the sense of presence

  • Magalie OchsEmail author
  • Daniel Mestre
  • Grégoire de Montcheuil
  • Jean-Marie Pergandi
  • Jorane Saubesty
  • Evelyne Lombardo
  • Daniel Francon
  • Philippe Blache
Original Paper


The way doctors deliver bad news has a significant impact on the therapeutic process. In order to facilitate doctor’s training, we have developed an embodied conversational agent simulating a patient to train doctors to break bad news. In this article, we present an evaluation of the virtual reality training platform comparing the users’ experience depending on the virtual environment displays: a PC desktop, a virtual reality headset, and four wall fully immersive systems. The results of the experience, including both real doctors and naive participants, reveal a significant impact of the environment display on the perception of the user (sense of presence, sense of co-presence, perception of the believability of the virtual patient), showing, moreover, the different perceptions of the participants depending on their level of expertise.


Virtual reality Presence Training Embodied conversational agent Health domain Breaking bad news 



This work has been funded by the French National Research Agency project ACORFORMED (ANR-14-CE24-0034-02) and supported by Grants ANR-16-CONV-0002 (ILCB), ANR-11-LABX-0036 (BLRI) and ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02 (A*MIDEX).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, LIS UMR 7020, LPL UMR 7309, ISM UMR7287, Département anesthésie réanimation, Institut Paoli CalmettesAix Marseille Université, Université de ToulonMarseilleFrance

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