Virtual reality as a clinical tool in mental health research and practice

The current review provides a summary of the advantages of using virtual reality for assessment in mental health, focusing on increasing ecological validity of highly controlled environments, enhancing personalization and engagement, and capturing real-time, automated data in real-world contexts

2020

Scholarcy highlights

  • Developments in virtual reality have the potential to radically transform the landscape of assessment in mental health
  • Experimental control is a cornerstone of As such, the enhanced environmental control and interacpsychological research, enabling direct comparison between tivity of VR allows for standardization of otherwise dynamic conditions to determine causal relationships between vari- variables, ensuring a consistent assessment experience, both ables
  • Sufficient evidence has accumulated to support the benefits of VR for a variety of assessment purposes in mental health
  • Superior capabilities for experimental manipulation and controlled exposure could significantly advance the field of mental health by improving methodological rigor, as well as enabling more accurate and individualized assessment
  • Automatic data capture of behaviors and signals from VR experiences can reveal important insights that might improve our understanding of mental health conditions and inform more tailored treatments
  • Software, and research evidence has progressed in recent years; more studies are clearly needed to establish the reliability and validity of VR-based assessments, and issues with access to these resources and ethics require attention, thought, and research as the field develops. n

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