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Emotional Spaces in Virtual Reality: Applications for Healthcare & Wellbeing

Tabbaa, Luma (2021) Emotional Spaces in Virtual Reality: Applications for Healthcare & Wellbeing. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87671) (KAR id:87671)

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https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87671

Abstract

Despite the abundance of research that supports the efficacy of Virtual Reality (VR) in applications for healthcare and wellbeing, the process of designing VR as an emotional space that fosters the appropriate therapeutic milieu is rarely discussed. Furthermore, current approaches for VR design tend to be lone one-off controlled experiments, rather than extensions to advance knowledge of best practices that considers the real-world deployment contexts. In this research thesis, a series of studies were carried out to investigate the effects of emotional experiences in VR within healthcare contexts, and how to design emotional spaces in VR, in a way that meets the needs of key stakeholders such as clinicians, patients and the deployment setting. First, the psychological and physiological effects of VR was explored. This study investigated the emotional effects of engaging in 360-degree video-based experiences in VR and the use of eye-tracking in VR to predict emotional elicitation. The study also explored the potential of eye-tracking in VR as a tool for emotional assessment in healthcare and wellbeing. The second study investigated the use of VR as an emotional space in a healthcare setting by presenting VR as a non-pharmacological intervention for people living with moderate to severe dementia residing in a locked psychiatric hospital. The study concluded that by "bringing the outside in" VR was cognitively stimulating, sustained attention, promoted wellbeing among the patients, reduced behaviour that challenges, and offered a unique medium for caregivers and patients to build therapeutic rapport. Finally, the last study analysed the co-design, iterative prototyping and evaluation of four user-centred psychological, cognitive and behavioural VR interventions. This study aimed to understand the design elements of effective, meaningful and enriched VR interventions. The findings are drawn in this thesis, and the implications of these findings extend the theoretical and practical knowledge in designing emotional spaces within VR in a way that fosters the appropriate therapeutic medium for healthcare and wellbeing contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Ang, Chee Siang
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87671
Uncontrolled keywords: Virtual Reality, Virtual Reality Design, Patient-Centred Design, Person-Centred Care, Dementia, Pain Management, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Eye-Tracking, Eye Tracking in VR, VR, Emotional Elicitation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Engineering and Digital Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2021 10:02 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 09:59 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/87671 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Tabbaa, Luma: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0947-4988
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