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Auditory-visual integration of emotional signals in a virtual environment for cynophobia.

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  • 1UMR 9912 CNRS IRCAM UPMC, Paris, France.


Cynophobia (dog phobia) has both visual and auditory relevant components. In order to investigate the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) exposure-based treatment for cynophobia, we studied the efficiency of auditory-visual environments in generating presence and emotion. We conducted an evaluation test with healthy participants sensitive to cynophobia in order to assess the capacity of auditory-visual virtual environments (VE) to generate fear reactions. Our application involves both high fidelity visual stimulation displayed in an immersive space and 3D sound. This specificity enables us to present and spatially manipulate fearful stimuli in the auditory modality, the visual modality and both. Our specific presentation of animated dog stimuli creates an environment that is highly arousing, suggesting that VR is a promising tool for cynophobia treatment and that manipulating auditory-visual integration might provide a way to modulate affect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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