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Chapter 7. A virtual reality application with haptic feedback as a psychotherapy tool for schizophrenia

Una aplicación de realidad virtual con retroalimentación háptica como una herramienta de psicoterapia para la esquizofrenia

Published onNov 04, 2022
Chapter 7. A virtual reality application with haptic feedback as a psychotherapy tool for schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a psychiatric syndrome that implies positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, disorganized thinking and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include social withdrawal, decreased emotional expression, and lack of motivation. Symptoms impact daily life and make it hard for patients to socialize and continue with a normal life. Through psychotherapy, patients could question the interpretation of reality and consider alternative explanations of hallucinations. Cognitive- behavioral therapy helps patients counteract the force of offensive or imperative voices they hear; they learn to downplay hallucinations. Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that appears promising in furthering understanding and treatment of schizophrenia. Applications of VR in schizophrenia are addressed social skills training direction, where patients are immersed in virtual environments. However, those applications are focused on using visual and auditory senses, and patients do not “touch” a virtual environment. The main objective of this research project is to study the use of haptic technology, looking for the advantages or disadvantages of using haptic feedback in virtual reality therapy for schizophrenia. We built a virtual reality application with haptic feedback to conduct a study with volunteering patients from Hospital Departamental Psiquiátrico Universitario del Valle located in Cali - Colombia. The VR application is a low-cost solution that can be easily replicated in a low-income context like Latin America.

Keywords: Schizophrenia, Virtual Reality, Haptic Feedback, Virtual Reality Psychotherapy, Haptic Technology, Arduino Haptic Gloves.

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