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For the authors it seems therefore highly likely that such disorders can also be induced through VR.


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If the consumers of VR battle games are feeling very present on the virtual battleground than why should they not be under the risk of suffering from PTSD especially when playing for hours? If this speculation turns out to be true, then also perception and cognition altering drugs like ethanol might play a role here, as they are an integral part of human culture This given study presents a study protocol for researching the effects of ethanol in a VR environment, which could potentially serve as a starting point to further elucidate the effects of other substances on perception in a VR entertainment.

However, to understand the effects of other substances on perception, a more elaborate study protocol is needed. It would require tasks that investigate more than spatial localization and somatosensory perception of goal-directed actions, such as a geocaching task. These tasks should include decision-making, risk-taking, craving assessment and the effect of drug-related cues which can be adapted from other studies in these fields 65 , 66 , This might especially be relevant for psychoactive or psychotropic drugs, sedatives, narcotics and gas anesthetics used in a hospital environment.

In hospitals, today, patients with burn injuries or psychiatric disorders are already candidates to receive VR as a complementary treatment option. In a recent review on VR in mental health disorders, Freeman et al. Additionally, Dascal et al. However, it needs to be pointed out that drugs have differing effects on the central nervous system, which may also alter the decision-making process.

Our study points out that there is a lack of questionnaires available to measure presence under the influence of ethanol. Therefore, the existing presence questionnaires should be improved in this direction or new ones developed. A number of limitations need to be addressed for this study.

First, only a limited number of participants were available due to the timeframe and the elaborate technical setup. Second, the VR scenario for geocaching has limitations regarding the mode of locomotion. Participants handled the locomotion with the Microsoft Kinect body tracking system differently, meaning that a few participants struggled more with controlling their movements inside the VR scenario, whilst the majority had no problems.

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This concerned four participants in the control group and one participant in the ethanol group who had issues controlling their movements, despite the tracking system working well. Second, the body tracking system worked differently between the participants, which is a known technical issue of the Microsoft Kinect sensor and its detection algorithms. One participant in each group suffered from bad body tracking.

Using a more stable tracking sensor in future would probably resolve this issue. A qualitative analysis of the seven participants experiencing problems with the navigation gave no justification for an exclusion of their data sets. For each of the seven data sets it was evaluated if they solely caused the minimum or maximum values for each of the eleven factors of the dependent variables within their respective group. Only two of the seven data sets caused one minimum or maximum value.

One other data set solely caused the minimum value for three of 11 factors. The remaining four data sets did not exclusively cause the minimum or maximum value for any of the 11 factors. We performed an analysis of the data without the seven data sets where navigation issues occurred, and the results were non-different see supplement. Moreover, the Hawthorne effect might have influenced the outcomes of the study especially in respect to ethanol consumption, and also drug tolerance might be a possible confounder, and clear separation criteria were missing to separate slow from fast ethanol metabolizers.

The performance at the task was not considered and the effect ethanol consumption had on it. Further, the timing of the last food intake might have played a role in ethanol absorption and breakdown kinetics, which was not substantiated in our present setting, though we tried to standardize this variable by providing a standard meal to each of the participants prior to the ethanol intake. Lastly, detailed ethanol consumption behavior was not obtained for the control group. This study researched the influence of low-dosage ethanol on presence and user experience in VR.


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  5. Although the mean values of presence and user experience were similar in the ethanol and the control group, differences in the number of correlating presence and user experience factors were found. These differences indicated that central nervous system mechanisms supporting connections between presence and user experience might already become impaired at low dosages of ethanol. A comparison of the fast with the slow metabolizers showed ambiguous results.

    There were hardly any significant differences except for two of the 11 factors: perspicuity and negative effects. Future studies researching the effect of higher dosages of ethanol and of other drugs at differing dosages will therefore be of interest.

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    Furthermore, it will be important to perform studies with different tasks and other virtual environments to see if similar results can be found, e. Freeman, D. Virtual reality in the assessment, understanding, and treatment of mental health disorders. Psychological medicine 47 , — Parsons, T. Affective outcomes of virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and specific phobias. A meta-analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 39 , — Saposnik, G. Virtual Reality in Stroke Rehabilitation.

    In Ischemic Stroke Therapeutics , ed. Ovbiagele, B. Valmaggia, L. Virtual reality in the psychological treatment for mental health problems. An systematic review of recent evidence. Psychiatry Research , — North, M. In Career Paths in Telemental Health , ed.

    is for Teachers.

    Maheu, M. Slater, M. Speculations on the Role of Presence in Virtual Environments. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 6 , — Tang, A. Comparing differences in presence during social interaction in augmented reality versus virtual reality environments.

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    In Proceedings of the 7th annual Workshop on Presence , ed. Song, I. ISO Ergonomics of human—system interaction — Part Human-centred design for interactive systems. Ergonomics of human system interaction-Part Human-centred design for interactive systems Schweiz, Garrett, J. The Elements of User Experience. User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond.

    New Riders, Berkeley, CA, Ottosson, S. Virtual reality in the product development process. Journal of Engineering Design 13 , — Crowd behaviour during high-stress evacuations in an immersive virtual environment. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface 13 Shirkhodaie, A. In-vehicle group activity modeling and simulation in sensor-based virtual environment.

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    Enabling functional validation of virtual cars through Natural Interaction metaphors. Lok, B. Nicholson, D. A virtual environment for modeling and testing sensemaking with multisensor information. Holst, G.