Virtual Reality is a mediated perception of being present and immersed in an environment (Steuer, 1992). This mediated environment can be animated (Computer Graphic) or recorded using 360o cameras. A combination of sensory, interaction, control and location dimensions are expected to increase a sense of ‘being in that environment’ (Van Gisbergen, 2016).
As such, VR seems to be a promising medium for treatment of addiction dependency as , compared to other media, it may turn clients from audiences to witnesses, and even from witnesses into active participants (Aronson-Rath et al., 2016; Van Gisbergen, 2016). However, as media budgets do not increase with the same speed as the rise of complementary media, the right media choice has become more important as well as more difficult.
Although there are many VR examples that help people with their treatment processes, a VR application that helps people to overcome their addiction themselves by creating personalized contexts and as such reduce the time between being in the clinic and going back home or reduce relapse risk, does not exist and as such has not been tested. In addition it is unclear how much realism should be added inside these Virtual Reality worlds to stimulate 'real' behavior, and in this specific case, create experiences that stimulate feelings of craving. Within the professorship we study the effect of different levels of realism in VR. Within the Myrecovry project we specifically aim to compare computer generated VR worlds with 360 recorded VR worlds. Both seem to have advantages and disadvantages. It is unclear whether users (clients) will experience these type of worlds in a different matter and, as such, whether they have different effects.
Testing will be conducted using a series of longitudinal qualitative experiments during medical treatment therapy sessions. Within the therapy sessions, clients will be using the newly developed Virtual Reality therapy trainer. Testing, will take place at three moments within one week after the detoxification period at the Novadic-Kentron clinics. Before and after each VR therapy session we will measure effects and compare the results for three groups:
computer generated VR environments
360o recorded VR environments
control group without VR.
For both CG and and 360 the same worlds are created; a bar and a home environment. The following topics will be measured:
Presence / experience
Intention to use
In addition the interviews will stimulate discussion on the why of benefits and drawbacks of using VR in the process.