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Assessment of threat and negativity bias in virtual reality

Baker, C, Pawling, R and Fairclough, SH (2020) Assessment of threat and negativity bias in virtual reality. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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Open Access URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74421-1 (Published version)


Negativity bias, i.e., tendency to respond strongly to negative stimuli, can be captured via behavioural and psychophysiological responses to potential threat. A virtual environment (VE) was created at room-scale wherein participants traversed a grid of ice blocks placed 200 m above the ground. Threat was manipulated by increasing the probability of encountering ice blocks that disintegrated and led to a virtual fall. Participants interacted with the ice blocks via sensors placed on their feet. Thirty-four people were recruited for the study, who were divided into High (HN) and Low (LN) Neuroticism groups. Movement data were recorded alongside skin conductance level and facial electromyography from the corrugator supercilii and zygomaticus major. Risk-averse behaviours, such as standing on ‘safe’ blocks and testing blocks prior to movement, increased when threat was highest. HN individuals exhibited more risk-averse behaviour than the LN group, especially in the presence of high threat. In addition, activation of the corrugator muscle was higher for HN individuals in the period following a movement to an ice block. These findings are discussed with respect to the use of room-scale VE as a protocol for emotion induction and measuring trait differences in negativity bias within VR.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 10:38
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 06:31
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41598-020-74421-1
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13855
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