Review of psychophysiological and psychotherapeutic studies of stress using virtual reality technologies
This review addresses the use of virtual reality technologies in the psychophysiology and psychotherapy of stress. Studies using virtual reality both to introduce subjects into a state of stress and to help reduce stress reactions are reviewed. Methods developed for treating patients suffering from stress-related disorders (in particular, PTSD and phobias) are described. In many cases, reductions in stress reactions with the help of virtual reality systems are achieved not only at the self-report (experiential) level, but also at the level of central and peripheral nervous system measures. This allows virtual reality to be regarded as a modern, inexpensive, and effective method, firstly, for introducing subjects into a state of stress with the aim of testing various hypotheses in psychophysiology and, secondly, to reduce stress reactions.