EEG alpha asymmetry, heart rate variability and cortisol in response to virtual reality induced stress

Anne Marie Brouwer*, Mark A. Neerincx, Victor Kallen, Leslie van der Leer, Michiel Ten Brinke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We propose to combine Virtual Reality (VR) and bio-neuro feedback to help treat stress-related disorders. As a first step in that direction, we here attempted to induce stress through VR and identify (neuro)physiological correlates. Nine participants performed a surveillance task in two different cities within VR while EEG, ECG and cortisol level were recorded over time. We aimed to induce stress by simulating a bomb explosion and providing negative feedback about the participant's performance. Associative stress was elicited by having participants return to the city where the bomb explosion occurred and they supposedly performed badly. (Associative) stress was reflected in EEG mid-frontal alpha asymmetry, heart variability and cortisol level. General stress levels as expressed by cortisol and mid-frontal alpha asymmetry correlated between participants. These results are promising for a successful implementation of a VR bio-neuro feedback system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cyber Therapy and Rehabilitation
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2011

Keywords

  • EEG
  • Physiological
  • PTSD
  • Stress
  • Virtual reality

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