Effects of Virtual Training on Emotional Response
Learning to regulate one’s emotions under threatening circumstances is important, among others, for professionals like police officers and military personnel. To explore the opportunities of Virtual Reality-based training for such professionals, this paper describes an experiment performed to investigate the impact of virtual training on participants’ experienced emotional responses in threatening situations. A set of 15 participants was asked to rate the subjective emotional intensity of a set of affective pictures at two different time points, separated by six hours. The participants were divided into three groups: the first group performed a session of virtual training in between, in which they received a choice-reaction task, the second group performed a session of virtual training, in which they had to apply reappraisal strategies, and a control group did not have any training session. The results indicate that the reappraisal-based training caused the participants in that group to give significantly lower ratings for the emotional intensity of the negative pictures, whereas the content-based training resulted in significantly higher ratings compared to the group without training. Moreover, a second experiment, performed with the same participants six months later, indicated that these effects are fairly persistent over time, and that they transfer to different pictures with similar characteristics.
KeywordsVirtual training emotion regulation emotional response
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