Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 534–539 | Cite as

Education About Hallucinations Using an Internet Virtual Reality System: A Qualitative Survey

Using Technology to Teach Clinical Care

Abstract

Objective

The authors evaluate an Internet virtual reality technology as an education tool about the hallucinations of psychosis.

Method

This is a pilot project using Second Life, an Internet-based virtual reality system in which a virtual reality environment was constructed to simulate the auditory and visual hallucinations of two patients with schizophrenia. Eight hundred sixty-three self-referred users took a self-guided tour.

Results

Five hundred seventy-nine (69%) of the users who toured the environment completed a survey. Of the survey responders, 440 (76%) thought the environment improved their understanding of auditory hallucinations 69% thought it improved their understanding of visual hallucinations, and 82% said they would recommend the environment to a friend.

Conclusions

Computer simulations of the perceptual phenomena of psychiatric illness are feasible with existing personal computer technology. Integration of the evaluation survey into the environment itself was possible. The use of Internet-connected graphics environments holds promise for public education about mental illness.

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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California, DavisSacramentoUSA

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