VIRTUAL REALITY -

VR is a bit of a misnomer since we already perceive a virtual experience. The acts of illusion have mainly played on the disconnection of the right and left eye, which is used to simulate distance and object relationships. From ancestral artifices to modern electronic lenses, the reality modification by the brain has been ‘hi-jacked’ to produce a result that is not consistent with the actualimage of the world.

The more immersive abilities of the present VR machines has not only led to the use of more realistic gaming but psychological studies and therapies that can help overcome fears and learning. Clinical psychology is generally perceived as a face-to-face interaction between therapist and patient. However, thanks to technology developments, this picture has been changed. The massive innovation of Information and Communication Technologies has brought a revolution to the view of psychology and also the way how psychotherapists work. Especially, the application of virtual reality and augmented reality has given an important contribution to mental health.

Such disorders, phobias (e.g., specific phobias, social phobia, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) , eating disorder, addiction to nicotine or alcohol etc. Furthermore, VR and AR have been used not only for clinical intervention but also for promoting healthy lifestyles or well-being, for example, the reduction in stress, treatment of pain in oncology patients, or pain management for variety of known painful medical procedures. In all these studies, the use of these ICTs has supported psychotherapists and researchers to reach the best results for patients. Thanks to the technological advances, it is possible to reproduce virtual environment where people can move as they are in the real world, or having some mobile applications which can enlarge the world around us and facing specific phobia. Of course it implies that psychologists have to open their mind and co-work with engineers and other professionals who have different backgrounds. Psychologists and engineers have to find a way to cooperate and to integrate their knowledge, a cooperation that till now has changed society exponentially.

A related recent phenomenon is augmented reality which may have an even more important use in the future. The ability to enhance perception by including an extra dimension of overlaid or added information used to supplement our visual acumen, is a whole new paradigm in our futures. This has been eagerly taken up by the military and is reaching into medical and the sports arena. The art is not too overload the participant with too much information.