Applications of Virtual Reality in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience–An Introduction

  • Stéphane BouchardEmail author
  • Albert “Skip” Rizzo
Part of the Virtual Reality Technologies for Health and Clinical Applications book series (VRTHCA)


Simulation technology has a long history of adding value in aviation, military training, automotive/aircraft design, and surgical planning. In clinical psychology, Norcross et al. (2013) surveyed 70 therapy experts regarding interventions they predicted to increase in the next decade and virtual reality (VR) was ranked 4th out of 45 options, with other computer-supported methods occupying 4 out of the top 5 positions. The increased popularity of VR in the news, social media, conferences, and from innovative start-ups may give the impression that VR is something new. However, it is important to look back in time and recognize that as early as the 1960’s, Heilig proposed a multisensory immersive experienced called the Sensorama, and Sutherland and Sproull had created a stereoscopic head mounted display (HMD) (Berryman 2012; Srivastava et al. 2014). The term VR was coined more than 30 years ago by Jaron Lanier and commercial games were distributed to the public as early as 1989 by Mattel (in the US, and by PAX in Japan) for its PowerGlove™ and Nintendo’s failed Virtual Boy™ was released in 1995. Clinical VR applications were proposed as early as the mid 1990’s by Lamson, Pugnetti, Rothbaum, Riva, Rizzo, Weiss, and Wiederhold (named in alphabetical order), among others. Moreover, several scientific journals, conferences, and handbooks dedicated to the subject have been reporting scientific findings for decades.


Virtual reality in medicine Virtual reality in health Psychological rehabilitation Neuropsychological intervention Neurocognitive rehabilitation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychoeducation and Psychology/Canada Research Chair in Clinical CyberpsychologyUniversity of Québec in Outaouais and CISSS of OutaouaisGatineauCanada
  2. 2.University of Southern California Institute for Creative TechnologiesLos AngelesUSA

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