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Special Issue "Virtual Reality in the Assessment, Understanding and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders"

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Pathergasiology & Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 August 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Riva

1. Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
2. Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab., Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Multisensory Integration; Presence, Body Experience, Embodied Medicine, Interoception, Sonoception
Guest Editor
Dr. Silvia Serino

MySpace Lab, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital Lausanne (CHUV)
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Virtual Reality, Embodied Cognition, Mental Health, Bodily Self-Consciousness, Spatial Cognition, Body Representation, Self-awareness

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the computer sciences, virtual reality (VR) is usually described as a set of fancy technologies. However, in medicine and neuroscience, VR is instead defined as an advanced form of human–computer interface that allows the user to interact with and become present in a computer-generated environment. The sense of presence offered by VR is be a powerful tool for personal change because it offers a world where the individual can stay and live a specific experience. For this reason, the use of VR in mental health shows promise: different researches support its clinical efficacy for conditions including anxiety disorders, stress-related disorders, obesity and eating disorders, pain management, addiction and schizophrenia. However, more research is needed to transform VR according to a clinical standard for mental health. This Special Issue aims to present the most recent advances in the mental health applications of VR, as well as their implications for future patient care.

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Riva
Dr. Silvia Serino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Clinical Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Virtual Reality
  • Mental Health
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Pain Management
  • Addiction
  • Schizophrenia

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Exposure to a Standardized Catastrophic Scenario in Virtual Reality or a Personalized Scenario in Imagination for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(3), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8030309
Received: 19 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
The cognitive behavioral treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often involves exposing patients to a catastrophic scenario depicting their most feared worry. The aim of this study was to examine whether a standardized scenario recreated in virtual reality (VR) would elicit anxiety and [...] Read more.
The cognitive behavioral treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) often involves exposing patients to a catastrophic scenario depicting their most feared worry. The aim of this study was to examine whether a standardized scenario recreated in virtual reality (VR) would elicit anxiety and negative affect and how it compared to the traditional method of imagining a personalized catastrophic scenario. A sample of 28 participants were first exposed to a neutral non-catastrophic scenario and then to a personalized scenario in imagination or a standardized virtual scenario presented in a counterbalanced order. The participants completed questionnaires before and after each immersion. The results suggest that the standardized virtual scenario induced significant anxiety. No difference was found when comparing exposure to the standardized scenario in VR and exposure to the personalized scenario in imagination. These findings were specific to anxiety and not to the broader measure of negative affect. Individual differences in susceptibility to feel present in VR was a significant predictor of increase in anxiety and negative affect. Future research could use these scenarios to conduct a randomized control trial to test the efficacy and cost/benefits of using VR in the treatment of GAD. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Virtual Enactment Effect on Memory in Young and Aged Populations: A Systematic Review
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(5), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8050620
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 27 April 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 7 May 2019
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Abstract
Background: Spatial cognition is a critical aspect of episodic memory, as it provides the scaffold for events and enables successful retrieval. Virtual enactment (sensorimotor and cognitive interaction) by means of input devices within virtual environments provides an excellent opportunity to enhance encoding and [...] Read more.
Background: Spatial cognition is a critical aspect of episodic memory, as it provides the scaffold for events and enables successful retrieval. Virtual enactment (sensorimotor and cognitive interaction) by means of input devices within virtual environments provides an excellent opportunity to enhance encoding and to support memory retrieval with useful traces in the brain compared to passive observation. Methods: We conducted a systematic review with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines concerning the virtual enactment effect on spatial and episodic memory in young and aged populations. We aim at giving guidelines for virtual enactment studies, especially in the context of aging, where spatial and episodic memory decline. Results: Our findings reveal a positive effect on spatial and episodic memory in the young population and promising outcomes in aging. Several cognitive factors (e.g., executive function, decision-making, and visual components) mediate memory performances. Findings should be taken into account for future interventions in aging. Conclusions: The present review sheds light on the key role of the sensorimotor and cognitive systems for memory rehabilitation by means of a more ecological tool such as virtual reality and stresses the importance of the body for cognition, endorsing the view of an embodied mind. Full article
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J. Clin. Med. EISSN 2077-0383 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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