Using Virtual Reality for Anger Control

vr anger control neurosicnes publc

Summary: Immersive virtual reality that focuses on anger exposure training can have a positive effect as a treatment for anger management.

Source: Mary Ann Lieber, Inc.

Virtual reality can be an effective strategy for controlling anger in aggressive individuals.

An immersive virtual reality anger control training program can reduce the level of anger provoked, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networks.

Jae-Jin Kim, MD, PhD, of Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, and his co-authors, divided 60 young male participants into two groups: high and low aggression groups. They exposed them to virtual reality-based anger exposure and mindfulness training.

The anger exposure training consisted of virtual environments designed to induce anger as well as visual avatar guidance to facilitate anger control.

In the mindfulness training program, the participant was engaged in mindfulness-based guided breathing and relaxation meditation.

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This shows a man wearing VR glasses
The anger exposure training consisted of virtual environments designed to induce anger as well as visual avatar guidance to facilitate anger control. Image is in public domain

“In Anger Exposure Training, managed expression reduced the level of anger elicited by expressing anger in the high and low aggression groups, the investigators concluded. “In mindfulness training, meditation also increased the level of comfort in both groups.”

“Previous studies have shown virtual reality to be a useful tool for training, improving outcomes and reducing costs. This study adds to the literature by illustrating the value of virtual reality training, even when ‘it’s used for brief intervention,’ says editor Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA and Virtual Reality Medical Center, La Jolla, CA.

About this virtual reality research news

Author: Kathryn Rühle
Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Contact: Kathryn Ruehle – Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: Free access.
“The Applicability of Virtual Reality-Based Training to Control Anger in Aggressive Individuals” by Jae-Jin Kim et al. Behavior in cyberpsychology and social networks


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The applicability of virtual reality-based training for controlling anger in aggressive individuals

Since failure to control anger leads to emotional and social problems, appropriate anger management can be important for social well-being. Virtual reality (VR) can potentially be used effectively in anger management, and this study aimed to verify the applicability of virtual reality-based anger control training program.

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Data obtained by having 60 young male participants divided into 2 groups, the high aggression group and the low aggression group, based on their scores on the aggression questionnaire to run this program were analyzed.

The program consisted of “anger exposure training” to induce anger and facilitate anger control and “mindfulness training” to provide the experience of meditation to control anger.

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Anger scores and comfort scores obtained from these tasks, respectively, were analyzed for differences between groups and between experimental conditions.

Rates of anger regulation and comfort improvement were analyzed for correlations with psychological variables.

In Anger Exposure Training, anger scores in anger expression were reduced in managed anger expression in both groups.

In mindfulness training, meditation also increased comfort score in both groups, and rates of comfort improvement were negatively correlated with levels of self-differentiation and open communication with mother only. in the high aggression group.

These results indicate that VR environments can provide an effective means of anger management training. Therefore, further research on the effectiveness of virtual reality-based anger control training program is warranted in people who express excessive aggression.

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