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Social priming influences the perception of a virtual audience: Exploratory study

Abstract : Virtual reality is an effective therapeutic tool in many psychiatric disorders. However, some patients are not very sensitive to these new treatments due to a difficulty in considering these virtual environments as plausible. The aim of this study is to evaluate the influence of conceptual priming on the perception of virtual environments in healthy participants. We primed participants with a pro-social, non-social or anti-social priming. The participants then had to present themselves for 2 min to an audience of avatars in a virtual amphitheater. We used the ITC-SOPI and the Presence scale to assess participants’ perception of the environments. Our results suggest that there are significant differences between the three priming conditions concerning the perception scale (F(2,75) = 4.579; p = 0.013). More specifically, the pro-social condition significantly favours the positive perception of a virtual audience compared to the anti-social condition (respectively: Mean = 33.31 / SD = 8.76; Mean = 25.38 / SD = 9.26; t = 3.249; p = 0.005). This study shows that an experimental priming task can influence the perception of an environment in virtual reality. Experimental priming can become a very interesting tool for maximizing the therapeutic effects of virtual reality in patients who are not very sensitive to digital tools.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 10:48:06 AM
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Lisa Cerda, Jonathan Del-Monte, Pierluigi Graziani. Social priming influences the perception of a virtual audience: Exploratory study. Current Psychology, Springer Verlag, 2021, ⟨10.1007/s12144-021-01869-3⟩. ⟨hal-03236226⟩



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