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Sound Can Enhance the Analgesic Effect of Virtual Reality.

Johnson, S and Coxon, M (2016) Sound Can Enhance the Analgesic Effect of Virtual Reality. Royal Society Open Science, 3.

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Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) technology may serve as an effective non-pharmacological analgesic to aid pain management. During VR distraction the individual is immersed in a game presented through a head-mounted display (HMD). The technological level of the HMD can vary, as can the use of different input devices and the inclusion of sound. Whilst more technologically advanced designs may lead to more effective pain management the specific roles of individual components within such systems are not yet fully understood. Here the role of supplementary auditory information was explored due to its particular ecological relevance. Healthy adult participants took part in a series of cold-pressor trials submerging their hand in cold water for as long as possible. Individual pain tolerances were measured according to the time (in seconds) before the participant withdrew their hand. The concurrent use of a VR game and the inclusion of sound was varied systematically within participants. In keeping with previous literature, the use of a VR game increased pain tolerance across conditions. Highest pain tolerance was recorded when participants were simultaneously exposed to both the VR game and supplementary sound. The simultaneous inclusion of sound may therefore play an important role when designing VR to manage pain.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150567
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1481

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