Therapeutic Potential of Interactive Audiovisual 360-Degree Virtual Reality Environments for Anxiety Reduction : —A Case Study with an Abstract Art Application
Jyskä, Ilmari; Puura, Kaija; Turunen, Markku (2022-09)
09 / 2022
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Featured Application: Binaural Odyssey is a virtual reality relaxation application based on generative abstract animations and binaural sounds that react to the user’s head movements with the aim of influencing the user’s emotions. The increasing contrast between limited resources and growing demand in psychiatric care for anxiety disorders has caused an urgent need to find new cost-effective methods for treatment. This article studies the therapeutic potential of interactive audiovisual abstract art in a 360-degree virtual reality environment as a method for reducing anxiety and inducing relaxation. The study consists of experimental research of a virtual reality relaxation application called Binaural Odyssey. This research was conducted with 13 research participants between June and August 2021, and it uses a within-subjects design. Digital questionnaires, structured interviews, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) data, and the researcher’s observations during the research situation were used to gather research data. Results of the study suggest that this method can produce positive mental health effects for the users, such as reduced anxiety and tension, as well as increased relaxation levels and mental resources. Binaural Odyssey is a promising prototype of this method, but it lacks parity regarding application contents and clear therapeutic goals and, therefore, cannot be recommended for treatment purposes. However, further development with mental health professionals could pave the way for a new functional treatment method for reducing and controlling anxiety and tension.
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