An augmented reality system validation for the treatment of cockroach phobia

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010 Dec;13(6):705-10. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0170. Epub 2010 May 3.


Augmented reality (AR) is a new technology in which various virtual elements are incorporated into the user's perception of the real world. The most significant aspect of AR is that the virtual elements add relevant and helpful information to the real scene. AR shares some important characteristics with virtual reality as applied in clinical psychology. However, AR offers additional features that might be crucial for treating certain problems. An AR system designed to treat insect phobia has been used for treating phobia of small animals, and positive preliminary data about the global efficacy of the system have been obtained. However, it is necessary to determine the capacity of similar AR systems and their elements that are designed to evoke anxiety in participants; this is achieved by testing the correspondence between the inclusion of feared stimuli and the induction of anxiety. The objective of the present work is to validate whether the stimuli included in the AR-Insect Phobia system are capable of inducing anxiety in six participants diagnosed with cockroach phobia. Results support the adequacy of each element of the system in inducing anxiety in all participants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Cockroaches
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / methods*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface*