Auditory-visual virtual reality as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for cynophobia

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Feb;16(2):145-52. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.1568.


Traditionally, virtual reality (VR) exposure-based treatment concentrates primarily on the presentation of a high-fidelity visual experience. However, adequately combining the visual and the auditory experience provides a powerful tool to enhance sensory processing and modulate attention. We present the design and usability testing of an auditory-visual interactive environment for investigating VR exposure-based treatment for cynophobia. The specificity of our application involves 3D sound, allowing the presentation and spatial manipulations of a fearful stimulus in the auditory modality and in the visual modality. We conducted an evaluation test with 10 participants who fear dogs to assess the capacity of our auditory-visual virtual environment (VE) to generate fear reactions. The specific perceptual characteristics of the dog model that were implemented in the VE were highly arousing, suggesting that VR is a promising tool to treat cynophobia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Dogs
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • User-Computer Interface*