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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010 Aug;13(4):429-35. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0164.

Virtual reality induces dissociation and lowers sense of presence in objective reality.

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Fernand-Seguin Research Center, 7331 Hochelaga, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


This study utilizes an innovative experimental paradigm to investigate the effects of virtual reality (VR) on dissociative experience and the sense of presence. A nonclinical sample of 30 people were administered measures of dissociation, sense of presence, and immersion before and after an immersion in a virtual environment. Results indicate an increase in dissociative experience (depersonalization and derealization), including a lessened sense of presence in objective reality as the result of exposure to VR. Higher preexisting levels of dissociation and a tendency to become more easily absorbed or immersed were associated with higher increases in dissociative symptoms resulting from VR immersion. Results are discussed in terms of imaginative processes underlying the dissociative experience and potential implications to the treatment of anxiety disorders with VR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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